After Action Review – analyse and improve crisis behavior

Your expert for questions

Jens Greiner ist Director, Forensic Services bei PwC Deutschland

Jens Greiner
Director, Forensic Services at PwC Germany
Tel.: +49 69 9585-5831

Learn from your company’s response to the last crisis

Organisations that have experienced a major disruption recognise that no matter how effective their response was, they can always do better. An After Action Review will allow you to learn from previous crisis situations both from your mistakes and from positive experiences – and to benefit from these insights in future crisis situations.

The After Action Review enables two perspectives – each an opportunity to improve your understanding of the business and other functional areas:

  • In-flight review
    During a crisis that requires a prolonged response, the in-flight review helps you assess your performance and make corrections in real time.
  • Post-incident review
    With a review of how well your response capabilities and processes performed, you can identify actionable areas for improvement and bolster your confidence for the next crisis.

What is the purpose of an After Action Review?

Moving forward from a crisis, a company that invests time and energy into considering upcoming risks – and determining the right actions for each – is more likely to turn potential surprises into strategic opportunities. Our crisis experts will help you collect data and insights from lessons learned to help you identify and prioritise actionable areas for improvement.

Following a crisis, an organization that,

  • invests time and effort in an After Action Review, 
  • focuses on upcoming risks, and
  • invests in the right measures, 

will be optimally prepared for potential new surprises and disruptive events. Examining one’s own actions is a very useful exercise for your crisis management team. It is also a signal to your stakeholders that you are committed to continuous learning.

Confront challenges, maximise strengths

The After Action Review produces actionable insights you can apply to your organisation, with a focus on promoting continuous learning and accountability. Another important focus of the After Action Review is on the strengths of your organisation: With our crisis experts you will learn to apply these strengths even more fully the next time around.

Components of the After Action Review

Incident timeline

In the After Action Review our experts will work with your crisis management team to reconstruct the events of the previous disruption and arrange them chronologically. This will allow these events to be established with more clarity around the sequence of process steps. In turn, this will help you to analyse the actions you took more clearly.

Log of key decisions and actions

Capture in detail how key decisions were made, what process steps were taken, where gaps existed and what strengths you were able to play to. Don’t reinvent the wheel in every crisis. Log the most important decisions and measures and integrate these into your crisis management.

Lessons learned

“Our COVID-19 crisis team provided good service to the organisation and we will use the structure for future crises – and not just during pandemics.” Such an insight is a typical lesson learned from an After Action Review. If your crisis management system has worked well in a given context, it makes sense to also apply it in different crises. We will help you to transfer valuable insights into your overarching crisis program.

Prioritised recommendations

“Roles and responsibilities were unclear and there were decision-making bottlenecks.”
It is clear what needs to be done: Prepare individuals in your team even better for their role and map the relevant decision-making authorities in a governance model. As shown in this example, the After Action Review is about translating insights from a previous crisis, or from a crisis that may still be ongoing, into concrete recommendations for the future. We will be delighted to help you with this.

How PwC can help you with your After Action Review

Our experts in the area of crisis management have extensive experience in preparing for, responding to, and overcoming crises and have been working side by side with our clients for many years – both during acute crises and for crisis prevention.

The PwC After Action Review is fully scalable and will be adapted by our experts to your needs and relevant variables such as the severity of the crisis. Our goal is to provide you with implementation tools that you can use to independently boost your crisis resilience through a process of continuous learning.

Learning from the past for the future: take advantage of the opportunities an After Action Review provides and prepare your company for the next crisis.

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Jens Greiner

Jens Greiner

Director, Forensic Services, PwC Germany

Tel: +49 175 3532089