Start, stop, and continue

Scott Belsky is the Chief Product Officer at Adobe, and previously was the leader at Behance, a creative services company. His book, Making Ideas Happen, is one of my favorites for leaders of any type. The book is full of real, practical advice for how to take ideas and turn them into real products, services, and programs.

Belsky writes about the idea of START, STOP, and CONTINUE, and this idea works great for leaders and managers. Use this to think about how to shift your focus to the leadership activities that make a difference for your team.

Here are some ways to apply this to your own leadership development:

STOP spending so much time on administrivia and trying to control your team. Instead, START building a great workplace for your team – not just a great physical space, but a workspace that features great processes for getting work done, and a psychologically safe space where everyone can make their contributions without fear of retribution.

STOP giving so much advice, and START asking good questions of your team instead – a superb coaching behavior.

START running more small experiments, and CONTINUE running more experiments through the year. I've seen managers who try one experiment, usually one that is too big and complex to learn anything specifically actionable, and think that they are being innovative. Innovation requires many experiments, and requires quick results and learnings that can be adopted or stopped. Innovation is iterative, not a single experiment.

CONTINUE learning and developing your leadership skills and behaviors. Being a better coach takes more than one session. Asking one good question is just the start of a longer process.

CONTINUE to evolve your team's work. As an example:

As a leader, you plan to stop trying to micromanage budget. Instead, your goal is to have your team work together on managing the operational details of the budget themselves.
On day one of your new leadership plan, your team may not be ready to talk openly about how the travel budget is being spent by the members of the team. As a leader, you have to help people build their understanding of the budget process. You will have to guide them in how to ask a question before making a judgement about what seems like a large expense. You'll have to encourage their patience as everyone learns more about spending over time – not everyone's work requires the same spending.

As you think about your own development as a leader, what exactly are the areas where you need to START, STOP, and CONTINUE? What parts of the leadership model are you wanting to prioritize, that will make the most impact on you and your team?

As you go through this blog, keep track of the ideas that you want to START, STOP, and CONTINUE. Run experiments yourself to see what happens when you try a new leadership behavior. Keep notes and reflect on what you learn. Your progress on your own leadership development can START today!

Dale Rebhorn

Dale Rebhorn

Dale Rebhorn is a teacher and student of leadership.
Madison, Wisconsin, USA