This is definitely not the book I expected it to be. Having read a few books over the last year I have become accustomed to business books being set out more like a story with a journey taking you from start, to middle, to the end. But this book isn’t like that. It’s actually a guidebook on a technique for giving feedback – the BUILD method (Behaviour, Understand, Impact, Listen, Do-Differently).

Kinder Conversations, Tim Keogh

The BUILD method is about giving feedback by describing your experience in a non-judgemental way, setting out the impact the experience has had on you and opening up the floor for the other person to tell you what’s going on. 

Back in 2012 I did a leadership course that talked about a feedback method very similar to this: withholding judgement, focusing on facts and sharing feelings, but it was definitely not packaged as well as this, because I can’t remember the mnemonic now!

A few years ago I did some work on the NHS speak up agenda. I attended a course with the Cognitive Institute about their clinical safety programme encouraging people to speak up about errors and behaviours in a preventative way, with the aim of improving patient care and recovery. Some of the sentiments and ideas from this book resonated with what I learnt from that course.

View an audio visual version of this review on YouTube

Rather than for the writing style, I would give this book an awards for its helpful contribution to increasing workplace psychological safety. 

I’m now thinking about how I ensure others benefit from BUILD. Maybe I could share the technique with my team so that we can develop this helpful feedback skill for whenever we need it? Maybe I can start practicing it at home? Maybe I could ask Tim Keogh to join me on my podcast to talk about it some more? Maybe all of these things!

I give it a 4 out of 5 because of its very specific focus on a particular technique.