Situation-Behavior-Impact (SBI)


We’ve all had a situation when someone disappoints us, fails to meet our expectation, or lets us down in some other way. What did you do? If you’re like most people, you make assumptions that are usually not positive. We often don’t even realize that we create stories about people in our heads, especially when they disappoint us. We see a behavior and assume we know why the other person acted a certain way, and react based on those assumptions without checking their accuracy.

We can avoid problems by first having a clarifying discussion. Sometimes inputs get scrambled or misinterpreted along the way, and the impact is far from what was intended. The way to know what someone intended is to ask them — and the only way to let a person know their impact is to tell them. These important conversations rarely happen and we then operate in a mash-up of misperceptions and actions rooted in incorrect assumptions.

The Center for Creative leadership developed a research-backed, widely-recognized model for delivering feedback, Situation-Behavior-Impact (SBI), is proven to reduce the anxiety of delivering feedback and also reduce the defensiveness of the recipient. It focuses on understanding the role of INTENT of the speaker vs. the IMPACT on the listener.

The feedback method is simple and direct: You capture and clarify the Situation, describe the specific Behaviors observed, and explain the Impact that the person’s behavior had on you.  Terrific tool for not only our professional life but handy in our personal life too!