Been to the ocean lately? Always strikes me how you can get knocked down by a wave, struggle to get back to your feet only to be staring another wave in the face. That's how the current world of continuous, rapid change can feel. Back in the 1950's, Elvis Presley might have seen only one technological change the entire decade, giving him a full 10 years to adopt, adjust and get used to the change.

Today, we have one change on top of another with little time to prepare and digest the new change--whether it's a new project, initiative, product introduction or technology installation. As Hall of Fame pitcher, Nolan Ryan said years ago, "There's no off-season anymore."

So, how can you find time to learn from one wave of change when you have a new wave right on top of you?

I like the Start, Stop and Keep method as a fast, simple way to capture learnings and apply in the future. It goes something like this:

  1. Gather your team very soon after a project or process is completed (it can even be a 15 minute stand-up meeting).
  2. Draw three columns on a flip chart pad of paper. Label one column "Start", another "Stop" and the third "Keep".
  3. Ask your team to reflect on the project or process you just completed, then brainstorm one column at a time by asking:
    1. What should we START doing that will improve the process, outcome or customer experience?
    2. What should we STOP doing that did not add value?
    3. What should we KEEP doing that went well?
  4. Acknowledge the team's effort for all the KEEPs.
  5. Assign the STOPs and STARTs to owners to ensure changes are built into future projects/processes (this is the step that is often forgotten). Use a simple 3W format:
    1. What needs to get done?
    2. Who is responsible for it?
    3. When will it be completed?

With practice, you can complete this brief process before the next wave hits you.

Find more practical tips to boost performance in the author's latest book, Stick with It: Mastering the Art of Adherence.

Published on: Jun 3, 2015
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