Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Performance Improvement Tip of the Day: Providing "SMART Feedback"

One of the most essential aspects of behavior modification is feedback - its critical to auto-regulation in all systems: biologic, social, and behavioral. If a practitioner does not find out that an action is undesirable, then she cannot correct it.

Most organizations are not familiar or comfortable with providing feedback. They find that it takes too much time, or the culture of the organization is not "ready for feedback", or they are not sure of how to go about setting up a feedback system, or they are worried about how the recipients will react. The purpose of feedback is not to chastise or blame, but to re-orient, teach, guide, and engage.

Feedback isn't about occasional meetings with the department head, or annual performance reviews. Those are too far removed from individual actions to be meaningful. Feedback is about providing critique about a specific action, in a time-sensitive manner so that the memory is still relatively fresh in the recipient's mind, and can be acted upon soon enough to change outcomes.

PPII has designed a SMART Feedback Tool to help performance improvement specialists structure their feedback in order to gain the greatest engagement and responsiveness from their practitioners:

PPII SMART Feedback Tool

Other "COOL" elements to add to the SMART Feedback structure:
  • C - Consistent - to establish a "culture of feedback" and fairness.
  • O - Ongoing - to ensure that the performance of a behavior is reinforced and hardwired.
  • O - Opportunity - for the recipient to provide further input into the issue or request clarification.
  • L - Learning-oriented - the best feedback provides a framework and opportunity for learning. 
This SMART Feedback Tool was provided courtesy of 
Physician Performance Improvement Institute.


  1. I had always thought that I was simply concentrating too hard on what I was going to say, but I really need to work hard on that.

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