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A Succinct Communication Model Every Business Leader & Team Should Be Using

As a communication expert I am always exploring new ways to help my clients communicate within what I now call The Championship Communication Triad, of prompt, direct and respectful communication.

In a discussion this week with my wife’s cousin, an emergency room nurse, she turned me on to a nursing communication model that every bussbariness leader should adopt and adapt.

It’s known by its acronym, SBAR.

SBAR represents for Situation, Background, Assessment & Recommendation.

SBAR was originally created for the nuclear submarine industry, according to Wikipedia.

In 2002, health care company Kaiser Permanente’s vice president of safety management, Doug Bonacum, adopted and adapted it for the company to improve communication between nurses and physicians.

According to a 2007 Kaiser Permanente newsletter “SBAR is designed to convey vital information in as little as 60 seconds.”

Why limit this succinct communication strategy to the nuclear submarine industry and the medical profession?

Everyone reading this can benefit from this style of communication.

Here’s a short example from a nursing-physician patient briefing conversation:

Hello, this is Ron from Med/Surg at OMH. I’m caring for Mr. Tree in room 3. I’m calling regarding his pain control.

Mr. Tree is a 22-year old who had surgical repair of a fractured ankle 2 days ago. He has had very minimal pain control since his surgery. He has an order for Tylenol 650 mg q 4 hours for minimal to moderate pain and Morphine IV, 1-4 mg q 2 hours for severe pain. He does not have any allergies to medications. This is his first time having any type of surgery or significant injury.

Mr. Tree ranks his pain as a 9/10, with a quality of being sharp and radiating to his mid-calf area. He is reluctant to ambulate out of bed, even refusing to get into a chair at the bedside. His pedal pulses are equal, the surgical site is WNL, and all of his vital signs are stable.

I think that Mr. Tree would benefit from some longer-lasting pain medications. What would you prefer to order? Are there any exams or labs you would like to order? What should I call you for in the future regarding his pain control?

This SBAR model can be applied to any communication where situations need to be conveyed and next steps determined quickly.

This approach provides the substantive information necessary to facilitate a 2-way dialogue that builds trust in critical relationships.

What applications do you see for it in your world?

If you were to adopt and adapt it at your company and for your team, how would it improve communication and productivity?

Leave a comment below and let me know what you think.

’til next time, Communicate With Power!

skip weisman, transforming leadership and workplace communication to deliver champion level results

Never Thought I Could Do This (it’s all about “Level 1 Leadership Communication”)

SkipGuitarCalgaryStageA phone conversation last fall led to a huge, unexpected breakthrough for me.

It came from the emcee of a large event at which I was speaking.

She called calling to get information about me for her introduction and a little humorous post keynote banter.

Towards the end of our conversation she asked, “Skip, what is your secret talent?”

I let out a nervous laugh and replied, “I have no secret talent, my older brother got all the talent in my family.”

I proceeded to tell about how my infatuation with rock and roll superstar Bruce Springsteen led me to start guitar lessons six years ago.

To which she suggested, “so you can play and sing a song for us.”

“No, I couldn’t do that, it would cause mass evacuation of the venue,” I said.

“You could just strum a few chords, couldn’t you?”

I agreed to that.

Deep down I knew strumming a few chords wasn’t going to be enough.

I hung up the phone thinking, “what did I just get myself into?”

Immediately, I sent a text that read, “HELP!” to my guitar instructor, with whom I had not had a lesson in more than 15 months.

For the next six weeks we rehearsed the song closest to being ready for “prime time.”

Six weeks later, in front of an audience of 800, I delivered a 50-minute keynote address.

Despite the audience size I was completely comfortable doing that.

Not so much with the guitar and singing.

But, there I was, with a guitar wrapped around my neck telling the story about how I had come to put myself in this precarious position and being totally uncomfortable in that moment.

It was the most intense “comfort zone busting” experience I’ve had in a very, very long time.

When it was all over, I was energized and excited having done something in front of 800 people my wife thought I was crazy to do. (to view my performance, go here)

I felt this way despite nerves taking me seriously off key to open the song. Plus, losing my place glancing down at the lyrics in the monitor I didn’t need.

I am now working on refining that song and incorporating four others to prepare for performing at an open mic night somewhere locally.

Our comfort zones hold us back in ways we don’t even realize.

Shoulda, coulda, woulda is the lament of losers. It’s all about our Level 1 Leadership Communication (aka “self-communication).

What comfort zone do you need to bust through in 2015?

What comfort zones are you committed to busting through in 2015?

Leave a comment and commitment below.

’til next time, Communicate with Power!

skip weisman, transforming leadership and workplace communication to deliver champion level results


“Lack of Listening” Is Misplaced Blamed for This Workplace Communication Problem

“Lack of listening” is often among the top complaints about communication in the workplace.

Just as often it is misplaced blame.

This “lack of listening” is identified as the reason people do not follow through on requests.

Parents, you know what I’m speaking about, don’t you?

When our children don’t do what we tell them to, we tell them to “listen to us this time.”

Chances are they “listened” last time. Or at least they heard us.

They just chose not to act.

You have to stop blaming a lack of follow through and action on a “lack of listening.”

Chances are your employees or team members heard you, too.

They, too, just chose not to act.

If this is a problem for you, this is a problem that needs fixing.

The only way to solve a problem is to find its cause.

The cause of people not following through on your requests is not a “lack of listening.”

  • The cause may be a lack of trust and respect with the requester.
  • The cause may be an inability to effectively fulfill the request due to a skill deficit or an attitude problem.
  • The cause may be fear of reprisal for making a mistake.

If this is a problem for you, how can you identify the cause?

If this is a problem for you, what do you have to do to build higher levels of trust and respect with these individuals?

Something to think about?

Have you ever blamed “lack of listening” for someone not following through on your request?

Leave a comment below to continue the discussion.

’til next time, Communicate With Power!

skip weisman, transforming leadership and workplace communication to deliver champion level results

What We’ve Got Here is Failure to Communicate

“What we’ve got here is failure to communicate!”

Have you ever uttered (or at least thought of uttering) that famous movie phrase.

It’s the 11th most famous movie line of all time. It’s from the 1967 movie, “Cool Hand Luke,” staring Paul Newman.

Most every day people in workplaces all over the globe experience “failure to communicate.”

Funny thing about that, though, is that its not due to lack of trying.

Communication is occurring all the time.

Messages are coming at us more than ever, faster than ever, from more sources than ever.

Maybe that’s part of the problem.

One thing that creates “failure to communicate” is playing the game “this = that.”

I learned this lesson 15-years ago in a personal development seminar.

It was a revelation to me.

Think about how many people, yourself included, play the game “this=that?”

What do I mean?

I mean that we jump to conclusions all the time.

We place meanings on experiences based on our previous experience.

Our brain does that to make sense of the world it lives in, and make our lives easier.

Yet, that brain shortcut gets us into lots of trouble doesn’t it?

Just because someone says or does something in response to something similar you may have said or done yesterday, it doesn’t necessarily mean the same thing as it did yesterday.

It may.

But, it also may not.

Be careful of jumping to conclusions in your communication by playing the game “This=That.”

I’ll write more about this item with a specific example of what I mean next week after the July 4th Independence Day Holiday weekend.

In the meantime, begin to notice how often you play “This=That” and whether it serves you or whether it may be causing your own, “Failure to Communicate.”

Please leave a comment below, if inspired to do so.

’til next time, Communicate with Power!

skip weisman, transforming leadership and workplace communication to deliver champion level results

Drama Queens and Kings in the Workplace, What To Do About ‘Em

Due to a restructuring at my wife’s place of work, a woman was transferred to her team.

This woman came with a reputation of a negative attitude and a “drama queen” label.

You know the type, people always in an emotional state putting everyone on edge?

Well, to get off on the right foot, my wife asked her team to keep an open mind and give this woman a fresh start.

My wife also let this woman know that the department from which she was coming had a reputation for negativity and that she was coming into a different, more positive work environment.

This woman’s response was “I am who I am, I can’t change how I react.”

Initially, she didn’t.

When she was stressed, frustrated or upset everyone knew it.

Her verbal exasperations, sighs, and highly intense language reverberated throughout their small work area.

But, in communicating to understand this woman’s personality, my wife learned something that has helped reduce the drama queen tendencies.

She learned most of the drama this woman created was around her own inadequacies, lack of confidence and self-esteem.

Self-esteem and self-confidence issues caused all the drama. It had little to do with other people or her environment.

Her issues were related to inabilities to do something she needed to do (usually around technology) or to understand something she needed to understand (regarding her new role).

But, her reactions reverberated throughout the work environment, impacting everyone’s emotions.

With my wife’s coaching, she’s starting to understand how to manage her frustrations and reactions, and is being kinder to herself.

She’s a work in progress.

There is no one cause of drama in the workplace, many factors are involved.

I recently released a new report providing a 6-step solution to eliminate drama in the workplace, addressing many of those factors.

It’s called, How to Transform Your Workplace from Drama & Defensiveness to Initiative and Ownership – you can grab your copy here.

However, the report doesn’t address the drama caused in situations like my wife’s new employee.

Her problem is low self-esteem.

Low self-esteem is at the root of drama queen’s and kings.

Something I’ll address in my next article. Look for it in a few days.

Make it a great weekend!

Best Regards,
skip weisman, transforming leadership and workplace communication to deliver champion level results





P.S. – This report How to Transform Your Workplace from Drama & Defensiveness to Initiative and Ownership is absolutely free, and available at this link.

What About Team Captains in the Workplace? Can They Work Like in Sports?

After a recent loss the captain of my favorite professional sports team (the New York Rangers of the National Hockey League) called a private, closed-door, player-only meeting to address the collective under performance of the team without the coaches involved.

In speaking with a prospective client today about raising the bar on the performance of her senior leadership team, I got the idea that it might be a good idea where workplace teams are clearly identified, that they too, choose a team captain.

For the past 7 years in working with my clients’ senior leadership teams we regularly develop Team Agreements that outline specifics of how the team promises to treat each other, and interact to create a high-performing team.

One of the challenges I’ve found with the Team Agreement process after I leave is sometimes the on-going accountability to it dissipates as time moves along.

I’m wondering, if as part of the Team Agreement, the team should also select a team captain that can act as the team leader and be authorized by team members to act in ways that will keep the team on track and performing as promised.

This will do at least two things:

  1. It will make it easier for the team to remain self-accountable without senior leaders needing to address performance.
  2. The team will have a liaison between it and senior leadership to address issues up the ladder

This is just an idea I had, what do you think? Leave a comment below.

Creating a Team Agreement is just one part of a process to create a high-performing work environment that will end workplace drama and begin moving employees to take initiative and eventually ownership of their roles at your company (the roles for which you hired them and are paying them for).

Below are two resources to help you create a high-performing workplace at your small business in 2014:

  1. Download my FREE Report “How to Transform Your Workplace from Drama & Defensiveness to Initiative & Ownership” at
  2. Request a complimentary Revolutionary Leadership Strategy Session at www.

’til next time, make it a great weekend!

skip weisman, transforming leadership and workplace communication to deliver champion level results

Conscious Communicator Tip #39:Today’s Anniversary Celebrates the Power of Brevity

Seven score and 10 years ago the 16th President of the United States, Abraham Lincoln, delivered what is arguably the most powerful speech by any sitting U.S. president, the Gettysburg Address.

Just 272 words! Lincoln delivered it in just a few minutes on November 19, 1863 to consecrate the Soldiers’ National Cemetery at Gettysburg, Pennsylvania, four and a half months after the Battle of Gettysburg.

We can learn a lot from Lincoln’s speech 150 years ago and none more than the power of brevity.

The original and intended Gettysburg Address was delivered before Lincoln’s comments by former Harvard University President, and United States congressman Edward Everett. Everett’s 13,000 word, two-hour long speech has been long forgotten while Lincoln’s is studied worldwide to this day.

Upon reflection after the event Everett wrote Lincoln saying, “I should be glad if I could flatter myself that I came as near to the central idea of the occasion, in two hours, as you did in two minutes.”

In my training on The 7 Deadliest Sins of Leadership & Workplace Communication I speak to the dangers of a “lack of specificity” in our communication.

Yet, I also caution my audiences to take note that “more words do not necessarily lead to more specificity.”

Lincoln’s address 150 years ago is a great example of what I mean.

Another is comedian Jerry Seinfeld who has said he works for hours cutting a joke from eight words down to six because brevity is power.

And, one reason why I strive to keep these blog articles for you under 300 words.

In honor of the anniversary this article is 272 words!

’til next time communicate with brevity!

skip weisman, transforming leadership and workplace communication to deliver champion level results




P.S. If you’d like help communicating to motivate your staff I encourage
you to sign up for a FREE Revolutionary Strategy Session at:

Ask Skip: How Can I Feel Compassion for an Employee Caught Lying & Is Being Deceptive?

All Ask Skip Questions that appear in this blog are actual questions submitted to me directly from blog subscribers or other inquiries that come in through the main website or via my Social Media pages on LinkedIn, Twitter and Facebook. Feel free to submit your own “Leadership, Teamwork or Workplace Communication”question here!

Last Friday, June 14th in my Power Word Series, I suggested “compassion” is a Power Word leaders the likes of  basketball hall of fame coach Phil Jackson, and hall of fame hockey player Mark Messier, have used as a key strategy in leading others to multiple championship seasons.

A subscriber to this blog sent me a direct email in response to that blog post asking:

“This is a great article and I am going through a management situation that may require compassion.  However if an employee is caught lying and is being deceptive, should compassion still be utilized? Thank You, Rich M.”

I’m certain this is a question others have asked themselves many times. And, like Rich, I know there are many other subscribers who are facing similar situations today. So, here is my answer to this very challenging leadership communication situation:

The short answer, Rich, is “YES!”

“Yes,” is the answer because being compassionate doesn’t mean that you agree with, or accept, the behavior, and that there will be no repercussions or punishment. It just means you see the other person as a human being with all the positive and negative traits we all have. It is my belief that all humans deserve compassion.

Approaching situations like this raise our level of consciousness and will also allow us as leaders to develop followers who feel trusted and will be willing to take risks. Taking risks is where all personal and professional growth comes from. Without, individuals and organizations become stagnant, and stagnancy leads to decline and death, literally and figuratively.

Here are some tips on how you can be compassionate in these type of situations:

The best way to be compassionate about this situation is to be curious. The reason curiosity is important on the path to compassion is because everything human beings do they do for a reason, and that reason ALWAYS has positive intent behind it. Human beings only do things for positive intent, no matter how destructive the behavior is.

For example, even the most destructive of all human behaviors, suicide, is done for positive intent. This is because the pain of living is so much stronger than the pain of death, and so the belief is that death will alleviate the pain.

So, get curious.

When getting curious the best way is to begin with “empathy.” Empathy is showing that you understand how another person is feeling and why.

From there understanding how a person feels and why they feel that way leads to an understanding as to why they behaved in a certain way, and its the understanding that leads to compassion.

Again, compassion doesn’t mean that you agree with or accept the behavior, nor that there will be no repercussions or punishment. It just means that you understand and care about the other individual as a human being and want to do the best thing for all concerned, instead of focusing on revenge and getting even, which is personally destructive to ourselves and not so much the perpetrator.

Does that make sense and/or help in any way?

Either way, leave a comment below and let me know so we can continue the discussion!

’til next time, make it a great week!

skip weisman, transforming leadership and workplace communication to deliver champion level results

Conscious Communicator Tip #7 – Avoid These 7 Communication Mistakes at All Costs (300 words or less)

Conscious communicators are extremely aware of both the specific words that come out of their mouth as well as how those words come out of their mouth.

This comes in many forms, such as, the syntax or order of the words, the tone and inflection of each of the words, the quantity of the words that are used, as well as the proper use of the words applied in situations.

In my decade long study of leadership and workplace communication, I’ve found that there are 7 especially damaging mistakes across those many contexts above that tend to cause significant problems between people both in the workplace and out. I call them “The 7 Deadliest Sins of Communication” and they can be applied to virtually any human interaction.

These 7 most damaging communication mistakes are:

  • †  A lack of specificity
  • †  A lack of desirable behaviors
  • †  A lack of immediacy
  • †  A lack of respectful rebuttals
  • †  A lack of focused attention
  • †  A lack of appropriate tone and body language
  • †  A lack of directness and candor

I’ll be covering each of these seven communication sins in more detail individually over the next seven weeks, dedicating one blog post to each. You can get a head start on these by downloading the free white paper report on which this series is based at .

’til next time, make it a great week!

skip weisman, transforming leadership and workplace communication to deliver champion level results

The 4 Truths About Workplace Communication for High-Levels of Teamwork & Productivity

The last few weeks have been very active for me in terms of business development. It seems as though people are starting to pay more attention to the communication challenges in their workplace. Maybe they’ve just started to wake up to the reality and the frustrations. Who knows why, but I’m always happy to add value where I can.

Many of the discussions have been focused on similar issues and they got me thinking.

So, you, again are the beneficiary. If you lead a company, a department, a division or just a project team, here are 4 truths of communication for you to think about as you move forward:

  1. The most vital workplace communication issues are about people, not technology
    Don’t let people blame technology or hide behind it as an excuse for communication breakdowns because we have to communicate the old fashion way more often if we want to build a team grounded in high-levels of trust.
  2. Workplace communication issues must be addressed promptly, directly, and respectfully or they will get worse
    I can speak to this strategy from many personal experiences early in my leadership career in professional baseball, and I’m also sure you don’t have to take my word for it. You probably do not need to look too hard into your own situational experiences to know this to be true.
  3. Leadership communication drives workplace communication 
    Too many leaders continue to be a “do as I say, not as I do” leader. Too many lead the charge in organizations violating the corporate values they helped to create and expect everyone else to adhere to.
  4. Workplace communication can always get better 
    When we stop believing we can improve, we stop being a leader others are going to want to follow. Champions on the athletic field know there is always another level they need to work towards on the way to winning that championship. What about you?

Hope these 4 truths of workplace communication help make you an even better leader. If you’d like to learn more about these 4 truths, download this free, 15-minute audio report at this link or just hit the play button below:

’til next time, make it a great week!

skip weisman, transforming leadership and workplace communication to deliver champion level results



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