Knowledge sharing is very important in the corporate world, especially when it comes to communications. But it’s not easy. And AAR might just be the perfect solution
The knowledge sharing economy was growing rapidly before Covid and was beginning to make a big impact. The pandemic slowed down this process as sharing was not the go-to thing in these strange times. However, sharing information became more important than ever. And when it comes to business and communications, one of the most important things after the news, is to share knowledge and experience.
Being able to capitalise on the knowledge gained from experience is a key to gaining a competitive advantage. Doesn’t matter if you are in sales, in marketing or in product development. Everyone meets different challenges in their daily tasks. When this individual knowledge is shared and available to everyone through experience and understanding, the team becomes better than ever. That’s why we trained 7 members of our time to be the first AAR Conductors in United Partners. And we are now in the process of training everyone in the team, as we believe this is a great way to better understanding and improving our work.
But what is AAR anyway?
Have you ever been in that situation where you did everything as it was supposed to be done but yet somehow the end result is not what the other side expected? We thought so. The problem is always miscommunication. It is normal to assume that others understand everything just as we do. But our common sense is not always that common. The way we understand things might be completely different from the way our teammates or business partners do. Sometimes in the rush of a situation a task is given briefly and without further clarification and the end product turns out to be completely wrong, even though everything was done the way it was supposed to.
What we do in such situations among the team here in United Partners – we conduct an AAR session. Short, sweet and so useful!
You are now probably asking yourself “What the heck is an AAR session?”. AAR is short for After Action Review. This is a method for reflection on past events. AAR is a way to see the bigger picture. We listen to everyone’s expectation, the actual situation and then start to extract the learnings. We keep it friendly and informative. This helps us share the experience and become better both personally as experts and professionally as a team. It is similar to a debrief session, however, from our experience, it helps us get so much deeper into the situation and get the most valuable learnings. AARs provide an opportunity to assess what happened and why. They are learning-focused discussions that are designed to help the team and the organization’s leaders discover what to do differently.
In an AAR we are creating a safe space to discuss a situation and learn from the experience it gave us.
However, it doesn’t have to be used only for bad situations. In United Partners we love learning from success stories! AAR is great way to share with the team how an extremely successful project was done. This helps us learn from the positive experience of our teammates and discover new inspiring practices that can be beneficial for more than one client.
Who can benefit from AAR?
The short answer would be everyone. However, talking in corporate environment, we find it working beautifully for relationships between teammates from our or from the client’s side or relationships between us and a client.
An AAR conducted after a difficult project helps us improve in-team communications and learn how to understand each other better. It also gives us the chance to look through some else’s eye and see the past situations differently, which shows us how to be more efficient as a team. It is also a great way to see where there were expectations that were not fulfilled and why this happened.
However, an AAR session after a very successful project can be as useful. Here the key learnings come from the things we tried for the first time and turned out to work wonders. This is how we form new best practices and manage to keep the team performances always at the highest level.
As we said, we believe that best learnings come from experience. Here is how our team feels about the AAR and what benefits do they see in practicing it.
“Practicing AAR really opened my eyes for so many things that I was missing before. Now I see the difference in the way people are talking about a situation. This help me understand my co-workers better and is already being beneficial on the projects I work on.” – Evgenia Vasileva, Insights Manager.
“AAR helped me with a difficult new client. We were about to start on the wrong foot but I noticed where and why we differ from each other in our expectations. We are now working on those differences and are on our way to a great partnership.” – Viktoria Solakova, Head of Operations and Culture.
“I was working on a tricky new project, so I sat down with the client and used the AAR questions to see how they expect the end product to look like. This saved me so much headache. The end result was fantastic and the client was happy!” – Desislava Boyanova, Junior Account Manager.
And those are just a few examples of our practice so far.
If got so far in this article we probably caught your attention. We will be happy to help you along your AAR journey! Contact us for more details.