Is It Time to Stop, Start, Continue or Change?
"We need the courage to start and continue what we should do, and courage to stop what we shouldn't do." – Richard Evans
Have you ever heard of the Stop, Start, Continue, Change exercise? I am not sure who originally conceived of it, but it has been a key tool in the agile project management toolbox for years. I love sharing this concept with teams and leaders I work with because, if used properly, it can be a powerful team-building exercise and a fantastic way to generate new ideas. It is also fantastic for self-reflection.
When you or your team are feeling stuck or need to find your spark, create a safe space and ask the following questions:
- What are we doing that is not working? (Something to STOP)
- What should we start doing to improve our situation? (Something to START)
- What is working well, and we should continue to do? (Something to CONTINUE)
- What is working to some extent and would benefit from some minor changes? (Something to CHANGE)
You will be amazed at the ideas you will generate. Here are a few tips to make this process work effectively:
- Set the stage: let the team know the context. What is the intention you have set for this exercise? For example, do you want to drive a specific initiative, drive innovation, improve team dynamics, or do you have another goal you would like to achieve?
- Provide ground rules: let the team know what to expect. Ensure everyone commits to being present, active, and respectful, so everyone feels safe to share ideas.
- Lead by example: Show up to participate, not to dominate. You might need to catalyze the conversation at times, but make sure this is not about you; it is about creating the space to let people be heard.
If you want to embrace and even create change in yourself or your organization, you have to be willing to try new things. It starts by breaking your patterns. You need to see what is working, what is not working, and what is missing. This exercise is a great start.