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Three Questions for Effective Feedback

| December 6, 2011

by Jim Bruce

This week’s Tuesday Reading, “Three Questions for Effective Feedback”, comes from the pen of Thomas J. DeLong, the Phillip J. Stomberg Professor of Management Practice in the Organizational Behavior area at the Harvard Business School.  His research focus is on the challenges facing individuals and organizations in the process of change.

No leader improves without getting regular feedback on his or her performance.  DeLong proposes that leaders adopt a simple mechanism he learned in graduate school; it’s called SKS.  SKS is a process where you, the leader, ask others – for example your team members – what you should stop (S), what you should keep (K), what you should start (S) given a particular role you have.

DeLong says that asking others for feedback using the SKS tool can be important to personal growth.  The questions really are simple:

1.  What should I stop doing?

2.  What should I keep doing (or do more of)?

3.  What should I start doing?

In its original form, each question was to be answered with a simple statement with no more than three bullets.

Why not give it a try with your team.  And, while you are waiting for the responses, take some personal time to reflect and to give yourself feedback using the same approach.

Summarize what you learn from all the responses and make decisions as to what you will stop, keep, and start.  Share what you learn with your team and give the team permission – no, urge them – to help you hold yourself accountable to your commitment.

Give SKS a try.  I believe it will give you important new actionable information.


.  .  .  .   jim