Start. Stop. Continue — Three Powerful Words for Goal-Setting, Process Improvement, and Self-Improvement.


I end all of my customer service workshops by asking participants to write down three words. Start, Stop, and Continue. Then I invite them to reflect on the day by jotting down:

One thing they will START doing based on something they learned in the training

One thing they’ll STOP doing because they’ve discovered this thing is not useful, or it’s holding them back

And one thing they commit to CONTINUE to do because I know everyone is already using techniques that work well, ideas more profound than what I could teach them.

My Start, Stop, Continue activity is a goal setting and reflection exercise in one. By reflecting on the day and successes, and setting goals, my workshop attendees are more likely to adopt and apply their insights, and this makes my training more effective.

But I also use Start, Stop, Continue as a 360-degree feedback tool, and a process improvement instrument. Here’s how you can use Start, Stop, Continue for self-improvement and process improvement.

Start, Stop, Continue for Feedback About Managers

My first year as a manager, I desperately wanted to know how I was doing, not in terms of performance goals or what my boss thought of me. I wanted to know how my employees saw me.

So, I had my assistant, Pam, send out an email to all my employees that bluntly asked for anonymous answers to:

What’s one thing Myra should START doing?
What’s one thing Myra should STOP doing?
What’s one thing Myra should CONTINUE to do?

Some of the replies made my heart thump nervously,

“Myra should STOP saying she has an open door policy because I always sense an annoyed interrupted vibe when I walk in her office.”

“Myra should START taking some calls herself to see what we really go through.”

But most of the answers affirmed that I was liked, respected, and helpful. The chilling responses told me precisely where I needed to focus and improve.

Want to improve your effectiveness? Ask your employees to anonymously tell you what you should Start, Stop, and Continue to do.

Start, Stop, Continue To Evaluate Project Success or Failure

After every major project we take on at Myra Golden Seminars, I sit down and ponder Start, Stop, Continue.  I just had the client from hell. My customer repeatedly made requests that were beyond the scope of the contract, they stepped on my toes, and left me complaining and acting ugly (toward my team, not the client.)

When mercifully the contract ended, I sat down and reflected on what I needed to Start, Stop, and Continue to do going forward with similar projects so that I could never reduce myself to negativity, whining, and constant frustration. I emerged with a game plan for setting boundaries with new contractual terms, assertively saying ‘no’ when the relationship doesn’t fit, and in general, more clarity in communication.

Try out my Start, Stop, Continue in your training sessions, for feedback gathering from your employees, or as a process-improvement tool. Start, Stop, Continue is quick and revealing, and you might discover you love it as much as I do.

Now you can give your representatives even more great skills for delivering the best customer experience and for handling difficult customer situations. Sign up for my email list and learn specific tips, approaches, and phrases to help your employees help your customers.