September 26, 2003
Last Revised: May 23, 2012 4:50 PM
I have taken a couple ordinary words and am giving them a special meaning within the context of Vibrant Life activities.
The term is "snap back."
A "snap back" is an "unnecessary response."
Generally "snap back" applies when the unnecessary response is to an order, request or question, where the person responding is not really answering a question, or not really responding to a request, but is giving out words (verbal or written) that have the result of changing the subject, or dispersing attention, or expressing emotion along with an actual answer. Comments or acknowledgments by a senior to a junior hardly ever call for response -- and a critical reply or disagreement in reply is almost always unnecessary.
Question: "Did you get the order completed?"
"Yes, but it was very difficult!"
The "yes" is an answer. The "but it was very difficult" is "snap back."
When this is delivered with some form of loudness, anger or critical tone, the same words are a more serious "snap back."
"Yes, but it was VERY DIFFICULT!"
Comment by senior: "OK. Keep some attention on X." Met by, "X is not important" from the junior.
Question: "Did you get the order completed?"
Answer: "I had trouble finding the paper!"
This is pure snap back. There is no answer to the question, but there is a strong indication that something is going on that needs correction. This response is not only not necessary, but it is causing turmoil within the communication exchange.
What should the answer be? "No," if that IS the answer.
Question: "Did you write the description of the situation?"
No snapback. It might be false? But, it is not snap back. Snap back, itself, is actually one of the characteristics of a false report, in that it is data which is inapplicable to the situation and not needed.
Also, perhaps, there may not be an "adequate" description? But, if the above is the question, the answer is simple, yes or no. An additive is usually a snap back, particularly when it shows anger or covert criticalness.
If the answer is, "Well I'm making good progress on it and hope to be done soon!"
This is also snapback. First, it is NOT an answer to the question, and next it is an unnecessary response. The proper answer in THIS case would be "no." If the senior wants to know "why" he can ask the next question. This willingness to "not answer" and give an excuse is just another form of snap back.
Giving an excuse? That part of the comm which is the excuse is snapback.
The senior who allows a junior to get away with this gets turmoil in his space.
The first handling may well be to ignore it, but after this behavior is repeated it is time to take some action.
The response can be gentle: "I really didn't hear an answer to the question."
Or, still gentle, "I see the answer, but there is a lot of other unnecessary stuff here."
Or, more pointed, "You didn't answer!"
Or, after repeated offenses, "You not only did not answer, but you are giving me snap back!"
There can be many possible responses that qualify as snap back -- they can be "handled" either gently, or with some force.
These examples are rather simple to understand. More complicated will be when someone gives a very long response which could have been given with either a short or a different response. But, it is still the same "snap back" and needs to be "called" and corrected.
How do you correct this? First, calling it is often enough. Next, require the person to read this Policy. If that doesn't handle, then ask him to read "Severe Reality Adjustment."
It is a sign of hidden or plain-to-see upset, anger or critical thoughts. These hidden or plain feelings are getting in the way of productivity and will usually be counter-productive in the area.
What type of person "snaps back?" Well, the very mild and meek usually do not. So, "snap back" is often the type of response you get from those who think well of themselves, are often "self starters" and think of themselves as very productive.
The truly productive would never feel the need to "snap back." He could stand on a simple answer, not including any unnecessary comment.
Why do they occur? It could be the guy is sick? hungry? Maybe he had a fight with his wife before he came to work? Closer to home, it is often the result of low production or no, or slow, results obtained. It may be the result of an overall dissatisfaction with his job, or the pay or the task to hand?
Whatever is the cause, it does not belong in the workplace.
Mr. Hubbard defines a word, "backflash" that is similar:
Backflashes, by definition, are an unnecessary response to an order. This can get fairly wicked. They are not acknowledgments, they are comments or refusals. Example: "Sell the bricks" as an order is replied to by "Bricks are hard to sell" or "We should have sold them yesterday." This is a disease peculiar only to a few staff members. They cannot receive an order directly and are seeking to be part of the comm [communication] not the receipt point. This goes so far as senseless "Wilkos" [often used in radio to indicate agreement] or "I'll take care of it" when the executive only wants to know it is done. Dispatches or orders, in most cases, are held until completed. We assume that they got through or rely on other means of saying they didn't. Only a few situations require an acknowledgment to an order over long lines and all of these occur when there is doubt that the recipient is there.
(Source HCO PL 26 May 1959, I , What an Executive Wants On His Lines, page 191, Vol. 0, OEC.)
Why is this serious?
Because the snap back almost always is an indication of strong emotion, usually anger or criticalness. It means there is something wrong with whoever uses it.
Keep your answers to the point. Avoid snap back.
When an ethics officer gets a repor of snap back, he can pull the string with Esto #16, get the outpoint and handle.
Quotes from L. Ron Hubbard are copyright 1994 © by the L. Ron Hubbard Library. All rights reserved.