A black-and-white portrait of KenKen ZinserMake sense and make better

Decision-making with SBAR

Situation, Background, Assessment, Recommendation. A framework popularized by medical practitioners in hospital settings, it’s meant to facilitate prompt communication about a patient’s condition.

I found myself adopting the SBAR technique in the course of working on complex projects in the organizational ‘innovation’ space — organizing groups around creative projects, going from nothing to something. Extending the framework to include decisions or responses made it easy to build a kind of decision management system for tracking proposals and decisions.

I put together this template based on how I used it in my work, including prompts for each section.



What is happening now?

What is the main problem?


What factors led up to this situation?

Is this an issue that happens frequently?


What do you think is going on?

What are the effects of this situation?

What improvements would we see if we made a change?

Recommendation (or Request)

What action do you propose?

What changes are you requesting?

How can you help make this change a reality?

What is the simplest, fastest, yet most thorough way to make this happen?



What is the definitive, unambiguous response to the recommendation?

What have we committed to doing?


What questions or reactions were sparked during review?

If you try it out, let me know what you think!