Stop, Start, Continue is a great model for giving feedback.

It appears this method was developed by Steffen Landauer, Vice President of Leadership Development at Hewlett Packard. He encourages leaders to send an email to each person on their team – as well as key clients – requesting a few feedback points for each of their colleagues under the headings START, STOP, CONTINUE.

What should Peter STOP doing? What should Peter START doing? What should Peter CONTINUE doing?

Each recipient is expected to share three things that each of their colleagues and clients should START, STOP, and CONTINUE doing. People then return their lists to a team leader.  The quick points under each heading are then aggregated to identify trends.  One-off points are dismissed, and the common themes are then shared in a quick meeting with each member of the team.

You could also use this model with two employees who are engaged in conflict. It allows each party to describe what the other is doing that isn’t working (STOP), and it will also force both parties to acknowledge what is working (CONTINUE) and to come up with solutions for making things better (START).

If you are using this model with a team, you could also focus the questions on the team performance, rather than individuals. For example:

1 What are we doing that isn’t working? (Something we should STOP)

2 What should we put in place to improve? (Something we should START)

3 What is working well? (Something we should CONTINUE)

You could also use this model to measure how well a process is doing, e.g. an induction programme or employee engagement.

Feedback needs to be simple and action-oriented, it is the breakfast of champions after all. Then all that remains is to implement the stops and starts!

1 Comment

  1. Thanks for a thought provoking blog.
    A useful model for feedback. Using it in conflict situations the way you outlined may escalate the situation.
    As a mediator, I would suggest asking each employee (after listening to their side of the story)
    What could you stop doing that would improve the situation?
    What should you continue doing?
    What could you start doing that would help resolve the situation?
    We can’t force others to change, we can only adapt our own behaviour. Forced resolutions rarely last.