- Capture the situation (S)
- Describe the behavior (B)
- Describe the impact the behavior had on you or the organization (I)
- Place a request (R)
Capture the situation (S): In the first step of the process, you must be specific as to what happened, when it happened and the context. The more specific you can be the better. Refrain from adding any judgmental statements. Be as neutral as possible, avoiding words that might trigger defensiveness. The idea here is to recall the event.
Describe the behavior (B): In this crucial step, you must give information about what behavior needs to stop or continue in order to improve performance. Avoid using adjectives that describe the person, but using words that describe the person's actions are acceptable. The more observable behaviors that can be described the better, as you are presenting facts here, not interpretations. It is important to capture not only what people do, but how they are doing it. This requires keen observational skills in order to describe nonverbal communication and body language.
Deliver the impact (I): In this step, you must focus on the impact of the behavior on you. This is not where you communicate what the impact may have on the organization or on other people. When you interpret and make a judgment about the behavior, you are less effective because the person can become defensive and argue with your interpretation. When you deliver the impact it had on you, it is harder for the person to dismiss your personal experience and it is more likely they will hear what you've said. You are sharing your personal point of view and asking the other person to view their behavior from your perspective. This kind of sharing can build trust and lead to honest sharing.
The fourth step in the process (based on my experience and the 'Conflict Management Tools' program I facilitated at Satyam School of Leadership) is:
Place a Request (R): This is important aspect of Soliciting, Giving or Receiving Feedback. Without placing a request i.e. What would you like the person to keep doing or do differently? and What support would you offer him/her? the other person would not understand what action is expected of him/her.
In brief:Some organizations, use a modified version of the above:
Situation: Where and When did the specific behavior occur?
Behavior: What are the characteristics, actions, words and non-verbal behaviors that need to be repeated or improved?
Impact: What are the consequences? What impact does this behavior have on other people? Is the behavior effective or ineffective?
Request: What would you like the person to keep doing or do differently? What support would you offer him/her?
- Next Steps
essentially the same principle
Feedback needs to be clear, specific, candid and concise. It should not be judgmental (good/bad), blaming (fault/scapegoating), or come from right/wrong thinking. If delivered in any of these modes, it will trigger either active or passive defensiveness.
These steps are valuable for both positive and negative feedback. Perhaps the best way to begin the practice of effective feedback is to start with positive messages. One message should be delivered at a time, however, to avoid the sandwich effect. When negative feedback is sandwiched in between two positive messages, it is less effective because the positive messages never get heard. This may be perceived as manipulative and insincere and does nothing to build trust.I also benefited a lot from reading the Q&A material
*p.12 Feedback That Works, Sloan R. Weitzel, Center for Creative Leadership