Leadership Spring Cleaning: Start, Stop, Continue

You Have Ideas: Put Them Into Start, Stop Continue

Start, Stop, Continue is one of my favorite brainstorming and organizing techniques. 

I use it often in executive coaching discussions, and over the past month, I’ve been using it to spring clean my mind and my business.

Let me explain.

I’m sure you’ve found yourself feeling like this at some time, probably recently. 

You want to say something, you need to tackle something, you have something brewing in your mind, you have ideas for brainstorming yet somehow putting them on paper or in a Miro board or typing them feels too hard

The problem seems too big to get ideas out. Because your ideas feel small. Or too simple. Or too few for, again, a big problem. 

You have stuff to say, but you need categories or prompts to begin to organize and validate your thoughts. 

This is where and how the model of Start, Stop, Continue comes to your rescue.

It’s as simple as it looks and sounds.

Ask yourself questions using those three words.


What do you need to start doing? Or saying? Or thinking?


What do you need to stop doing? Or saying? Or thinking? What are things, behaviors, actions, words, and [insert a noun of your choice] that you need to place the stop sign in front of? 


What’s working well? What do you need to recognize and continue doing, saying, and thinking? 

This mental process helps in 1:1 conversations with my clients, team brainstorming, and even with parents and teenagers. (I’ve tested it with both, and while both groups initially resisted, we did get ideas out, which is my goal. Execution of those ideas is another thing—and a story for another time.)

That’s my short explanation for how to use Start, Stop, Continue for your work discussions.

Try it. It’s easier than you think, and if you’re a leader coaching managers, then, please use it with your people leaders.

And you can turn things around and ask your direct reports to tell you what they want you to stop, start, and continue.

Then, here’s how I’ve been using it to spring clean my business and my mind.

Each Monday I list one thing to start doing. Another to stop doing. And yet another to continue doing. 

They can be small or big items. Easy or hard. Just listing them—getting them out—brings me to a good spot.

It’s then out of my head.

I can see it. I can begin to do something with that item (or not).

This week’s list sounds tame yet each time I practice this I come closer to something or farther away (intentionally). 

  • Start: reading as much fiction as nonfiction (this one is tough and necessary)
  • Stop: drinking more than 2 cups of coffee a day (brutal but, again, necessary)
  • Continue: saying no to work relationships that don’t work well (ditto)

Try Start, Stop, Continue this week, and let me know what you think.

Please Read this Book

I’m loving this book right now: Just Work. Get Sh*t Done Fast & Fair by Kim Scott. 

If Kim’s name sounds familiar, it’s because you probably read her first book, Radical Candor

Just Work is just as good as Radical Candor. And so right for our times.

Check out this photo from the book jacket: 

We all fall into at least one of those categories. And at least one of these categories is the #1 place for you and your company to place some energy.

So, read the book. 

Other Things I’m Reading