Autopsy–Lessons Learned!

One of my coaching clients is the division head for an international manufacturing company.  This year, he and his team experienced a problem with a supplier, which resulted in the possibility of potentially losing about $1.5 million dollars over a six to seven week period.  Yes, Million!  They did a lot of scrambling that week and also grew a new crop of gray hair with worry.  They ended up losing some money, but by quick, levelheaded thinking, they averted a catastrophe.

After the near disaster, instead of sitting around pointing fingers, my client decided to have a meeting with the members of his team.  He called it a “Lessons Learned,” or “Autopsy” meeting.

They took a couple of hours looking at the situation from all angles.  The purpose of the meeting was to make sure that something like that never happened again.  They looked at the variables as to what caused it to happen in the first place.  Next, they put in safeguards to insure that no future event would happen like the one they had experienced the week before.

And then, as a team, they implemented the changes. 

No one on the team was verbally attacked.  As non-emotionally as humanly possible, they just reviewed what had happened, came to their conclusions, and then made some course adjustments.


This is what leadership is all about.  Problems will come.  It is the way that you respond to your problems that makes all the difference.

I have thought about my friend’s response many times over the months.  We all go through hard times, near disasters, and potential catastrophes.  How about next time you go through one at work or in your personal life you have a “Lessons Learned/Autopsy” meeting so that you never have to experience it again?

What situation could you use this with today?


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