Speaking up without conflict-  with the SBIA model

Sometimes it has to happen; speak up and hold someone accountable on an agreement made. Sometimes things don’t go as they’re agreed. If it’s important to you (or your work), then it’s necessary to bring it out in the open with that person.

Communicate on time and as effectively as possible. The SBIA circle is a powerful tool that can help you with that:

Situation, Behaviour, Impact, and Expected Action

4 steps, 4 sentences. Nothing more…… and nothing less.

Example: “Lars, I want to talk to you about our weekly appointments”:

  1. “I’m always available at the agreed time….” (=situation)
  2. “…… and you often come in 10 minutes later.” (=observable behavior)
  3. “During this time I could have done useful work” (=impact)
  4. “I’d like us to start our meeting on time, or, in case this is not possible, please let me know well in advance.” (=desired action)


Calling out on agreements

At start, working with this model can feel unnatural and you may have a tendency to talk a lot about it.

Then just remember that the agreement you made was there for a reason. It served something. You’re not looking for a fight, you’re talking to someone about something that’s going to make you both better.

With some regular exercise (in work and private!) this model only takes you 5 minutes of preparation, to write down 4 sentences and “practice”. Remember to:

  • Limit yourself to one situation at a time
  • Describe only observable behavior, no interpretation (= “you come in later” vs “you don’t care about me”…)
  • Specify explicitly what action you need
  • Don’t communicate while you’re still in the emotion/frustration.
  • Communicate privately
  • Keep it short and powerful and then dare to be quiet
  • When talking about impact, connect to what the other person values: Indicate how his/her behavior has a negative impact on something he/she values himself/herself. Your message has to land, and it only does if you appeal to someone with respect for his or her values, not just yours! Understanding  communication styles can help you delve into what someone else values.

If Lars for example wants all time to be useful, the phrase “At that time I could have done useful work” will certainly appeal to him and he will be more willing to honor your request. If you know that he especially cares about a good cooperation, you replace that sentence with, for example, “That does not make our cooperation easier” ..

And remember: A fool with a tool is still a fool….. So use this wisely and respectfully  ?

Get started

Do you want to dive into this a but further or get started right away?

Feel free to immediately plan a half hour sparring with Sandra Geelink directly in the agenda.