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Success Takes a Lot of AER

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Success Takes a Lot of AER

What makes some organisations fail while another succeed? I am increasingly interested in area of learning because I see a lot of people and organisations that make the same mistake(s) over and over.

I guess you know why I am interested in this area. Simple. It dawn on me earlier this year that I am guilty of the over-and-over syndrome. Perhaps, you are like me. I ‘ve often thought that it is part of human folly. Well, it is, but it can be mitigated.

Turns out, I am not alone. In a previous post I shared about a psychological condition that limits us from completely avoiding mistakes. It has to do with the wiring of our brain. A condition known as ERN or error related negativity. Moving on…

Am sure you have heard about the tactical and strategic prowess of the Israeli Defence Force (IDF). They are know as a class act, head and shoulder above the rest. Is this because they are smarter than everyone? Heck no!

Researchers say, it is not because they are better than everyone else. It partly due to nurture or training. Their training emphasises After Event Review (AER), a method of reviewing and diagnosing both failure and success systematically.

I am fascinated by the work of Dr. Shmuel Ellis of the University of Tel Aviv. Investigating on the importance of reviewing both failure and success, Dr. Ellis found that groups that review both, learn more, while groups that review only failure do learn, but not as much.

His study was based on IDF soldiers. It gives me a lot of comfort because it re-assures me that organisations can do better in a crisis. It is also gives me hope that we all can learn and grow to overcome our inherent neuro-biological defects.

If that is not hopeful for the human race, then I don’t what is. As simple and intuitive as this may be, very few organisations do take the time to AERs, let alone reviews that examine both failure and success, as IDF does.

One example I will be studying in the weeks ahead is CISCO. They have been found to succeed far more than other organisations in their mergers and acquisitions because they conduct very systematic reviews of each and apply the knowledge to the next bid.

Think about how you as an individual can benefit from this awareness. How about your organisation? It gives me hope that if AER are not done for witch-hunting, they can go a long way in helping organisations bounce back from crisis. Individuals are no exception!