The Art of the Debrief and Workplace Safety

If you are part of an administration, security team, or training entity concerned with workplace safety, this post is for you and your team.  It has been years since I either taught as an Instructor Trainer or actually took part in this activity, but all too often workers go through various efforts to maintain a safe workplace, oftentimes achieving some degree or success, while concomitantly failing to some degree with little or no recognizable effort(s) by the entity (administration of) to change or redirect these efforts.

This is exactly where The Art of the Debrief comes in!

This is not just my opinion, but research reveals this to be a fact!  Security teams require guidance, support, and leadership in order to improve efforts.

Maybe it would help if I define my terms.  What di I mean by Debrief?

A debrief is an intelligent and concerned review of (violence) preventive efforts after each event.  A debrief can be performed by a security team, maybe led by that team’s leader with his/her “team,” or, more often, the team itself.  Better, I think, a Debrief can be led by the agency itself, featuring a review of the following:

  • What are any (tactical) patterns (of the teams) that lead to success or failure?  What might be typical patterns or disruption, disorder or violence that the security teams are facing?
  • A cogent review of the staff’s response to incidents.
  • What the staff did that worked?  What the staff did that led to problematic issues?  Suggestions and/or directions for future strategies/tactics?
  • An expression of trust and confidence (support) in team members.
  • If possible, Brainstorm options on what can and should be done differently (only if past and current responses are problematic).
  • Discuss and/or Publish Goals & Objectives (how can your staff know what they need to do to be considered effective & successful)?
  • IF NECESSARY, ESTABLISH PROTOCOLS ON THE CHANGES NEEDED, including how to accomplish, et al.
  • DISCUSS AND PUBLISH EARLY WARNINg SIGNS THAT STAFF RESPONSE(S) IS/ARE OFF-TARGET.
  • ATTITUDE CHANGES SUGGESTED?

This may be a bit unclear or confusing, so allow me to give an example.  Back in the day when I trained Retrieval Teams (picking up parole violators & returning them to prison), I directed the teams to debrief following the retrieval.  The team would meet, discuss the incident and brainstorm their efforts.  In a later review of my debriefing protocol, officers wrote that they thought that their debriefing saved lives “down the line.”  

Brainstorming what the team and individuals observed, what they did right, what they could have done differently, the attitudes they took into the event and how that led to success or failure, and what they should do differently in the future, I propose tightened their level of tactical communication and led to changes in the level of operations that was conducive to success.

Until my next post, stay safe.

The Hammer