Thursday, June 16, 2011

Feedback is your Friend

One of the most important means of self-improvement is "Feedback!" Not all that long ago, I used to be of the mindset that "Feedback" was a bad thing. I simply lumped it into the category of "complaining," and who likea a complainer? But the truth is that "Feedback" is my friend. It is far better for me to know than to not know and live my life with blind spots about myself. But what I have also learned is that most people do not know how to give effective "Feedback." In fact, "Feedback" given the wrong way can create major damage. I've both seen and experienced that fact.

A year ago at a Leadership Development Training Program that I attended out in Colorado, I was taught the SBI method of giving "Feedback." This past week in Staff Meeting here at the E-Free Church in Gaylord, Michigan, I taught this SBI method to our Ministry Staff. SBI stands for "Situation - Behavior - Impact." Whenever you give "Feedback" (positive or negative) it should include these three elements.

S = SITUATION - Describe the situation where the observed behavior occurred. The more specific you can be about the where and when, the better

B = BEHAVIOR - Help the individual understand exactly the behavior you’re talking about. Think of playing a video, only using words to describe what you saw and heard. Avoid interpretations and judgments such as, “You weren’t listening to me.” Instead, simply describe the person’s behavior: When I was talking, you pushed your chair away from the table and gazed out the window.”

I = IMPACT - Share with the individual the impact of the behavior on you and/or on others who were present. Impact is what you or others experienced. The impact statement is about you, not the other person. Most often, a description of the impact will start with, “I felt…” or “I was…” or “It appeared to me others were…” An impact statement is not an interpretation of why the individual showed that behavior.

Here’s an example. Instead of: “Chris, you were really effective in the team meeting today!” Say this: Chris, at the end of the team meeting this morning (SITUATION), you gave a summary of the key action steps we had discussed (BEHAVIOR). I was really glad you did that (IMPACT ON ME), and it seemed to bring a good sense of closure to the meeting (IMPACT ON OTHERS).”

Here is another example. Instead of: “Pat, you were really rude yesterday!” Say this: Pat, during our conference call yesterday afternoon (SITUATION), I noticed that you interrupted others and me on several occasions (BEHAVIOR). I felt frustrated at times (IMPACT ON ME), and I sensed that others were irritated by it as well (IMPACT ON OTHERS).”

SBI – It really is an effective way to give “Feedback” to others. In fact, we are practicing it as a staff. This week, each Ministry Staff member must use the SBI format to write down one piece of positive “Feedback” for each of the other Ministry Staff members. In our meeting next Monday, we will start by having everyone share their SBI's. We are actually going to do this for 3 weeks straight in order to begin developing the art and habit of giving “Feedback” to others in an effective way.

After all, “Feedback” really is your friend!


Glen said...


Pastor Scott said...

Thanks, Glen! Have I told your recently how much I appreciate you? Praying for you in Ionia!

Carrie said...

Great reminders in your blog this week about how vital people skills are. Thank you for the reminders to treat others with respect and kindness (especially when others just cannot stand Keith Green!). Haha! :)

Pastor Scott said...

Carrie, last week when we had dinner at hour house (situation), you told me you cannot stand Keith Green's music (behaviour). This made me realize how spiritually needy you are and how much I need to pray and fast for you (impact). Now, that's what I call an effective SBI! Hee Hee!

Carrie said...

Ha! Very funny! I have to tell you... Our friends in Sault Ste. Marie tease me all the time about my dislike of Keith's music, too. They love his music. They really liked your sermon Sunday. They listened online and thought that part was hilarious! You Keith Green fans are cruel. Haha! :)