Start, stop, continue. An openness and feedback exercise. 

Start, stop continue is as simple as it is adaptable, and a great exercise for leaders to use in meetings to help gather useful feedback from teams. It’s a great leadership tool too, as it helps to get buy in, and show you’re listening to your teams. 

Here’s how start, stop, continue works:

I’ve used versions of this exercise over the years, and find it works best face-to-face. 

Talk to your team about the topic you want feedback on, and explain that you want them to provide feedback in three sections: 

Stop: Things that they think are less effective and which they think should be stopped.

Start: Things which aren’t currently being done but that they believe hold value and would be good to start doing.

Continue: Things that are going well and which should be continued.

When is start, stop, continue useful? 

  • Start, stop, continue is useful for lots of situations, but specifically:
  • When you are at critical crossroads
  • If you are new manager – using start, stop, continue helps gain credibility and input and shows your team you want to include them in decisions
  • If you want to make feedback actionable – for example you may have results from a companywide survey but need a way to make the feedback actionable
  • If you’ve gone through large transition –  4-6 months after a transition is a good time to use start, stop, continue to get feedback. This length of time is good because your team will be able to compare and contrast the past with how they want the future to look – for example post Covid you might want to get feedback on working from anywhere practices. 

Doing start, stop, continue, virtually

If you need to use Zoom, then split your team into no more than five people (anymore and those who are less comfortable are unlikely to contribute). Again discuss the topic in question and then use the Zoom breakout rooms for different teams. Then have them come back and present their feedback to the full group. 

Actioning feedback

Once you have the feedback you can incorporate it in two ways: 

  1. Decide as a team during the meeting action points from the feedback – be clear on what is congruent and what is not. Decide which things you will start, stop and continue with and make sure those responsible know what they need to do following the meeting
  2. Take the feedback away and present back once you have had a chance to create a more detailed action plan. Again, be sure to show you have listened and taken note of your team’s feedback.  

It really is a very simple and effective feedback tool for teams. 

Hope this is helpful.



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