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Senior Correspondent

It has become obvious to many of us that food is fuel and that we depend upon frequent feedings of nutrient-dense foods. When we consistently skip feedings or rely on junk food and drinks for quick fixes, we risk malnutrition which ultimately impacts our overall performance.

This kind of malnourishment has become a major and persisting challenge, impacting the health of individuals, organizations and modern day society at large. We pay for poor nutrition in ways we easily recognize and in ways that sneak up on us.

We find that many employees suffer from another kind of malnutrition — the lack of consistent performance feedback. In spite of annual or quarterly performance reviews, 360 feedback, customer surveys and other systems of feedback most organizations employ, we find that employees at all levels crave real-time feedback like our bodies crave real-time, nutrient-dense food. 

Just yesterday my niece, Stephanie, shared her most recent performance review with me, and I was impressed! I was impressed  certainly not surprised  by her glowing review. I was also impressed by the specificity and care in each comment made by her supervisor. The comments reinforced various aspects of Stephanie's performance that, when consistently practiced, will lead to excellence in her profession as a nurse. Stephanie knows without a doubt what to continue doing to provide a high standard of care.

Receiving feedback on a regular basis is critical to our ability to continuously improve our performance and our professional development. Without thoughtful feedback, we become unsure of what to stop doing, start doing and continue doing to improve our performance.

At The Quality Coach, we love to recommend the consistent use of the TSBT approach to leaders and managers as a means of providing nutrient-dense food (feedback) for their teams, individual employees and internal suppliers. Receiving recognition is perhaps the most powerful incentive to improving performance. Behavior and specific actions are reinforced when leaders intentionally pay attention to aspects of performance that add value to the business or organization.

Giving meaningful recognition goes beyond an "Atta boy" or "Atta girl." It is very specific. Take a look at this deceptively simple, yet ever so powerful approach.

TSBT: Thanks. Specific. Benefits. Thanks.

  1. Share your thanks for the contribution — "You really did a great job on that report."
  2. Describe the specific behavior you valued  "You asked several good questions about … "
  3. State how it benefits you, your department, customers or the organization  "Our organization needs employees who know how to handle … "
  4. Give an overall statement of thanks  "I really appreciate your input. You truly made a difference to the project."

Following are a few guidelines to help: 

  • Be sincere.
  • Focus on behavior or actions. The tendency is to focus on results, but behavior leads to results.
  • Recognize best effort. Use reinforcement to improve performance and build best results.
  • Reinforce individuals in private. Reinforce teams or groups in public.
  • Reinforce the behavior or positive actions as soon after the event as possible.

Hearing this kind of feedback from you as their boss, mentor, coach or internal customer helps others develop an awareness of the aspects of their work that are most valuable. It helps them to become aware of what they are doing that's working. Try this appreciative approach, and watch the value that folks are able to bring to the job increase exponentially.

We are told that TSBT is also an awesome tool to help teach and develop good behaviors and competencies in your children.

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