The Art of Strengths Coaching

D is for Deciding What Your Team Wants To Keep Doing, Start Doing And Stop Doing

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Super teams encourage their people to focus on the key strategies for achieving success. They encourage people to keep doing the right things in the right way to get the right results.

As time goes by, however, people’s energies may become spread across too many different activities. At this point it is important to take stock.

Some activities may still contribute towards achieving the team’s goals, but others may not be needed. The team may also need to start doing new things that lay the ground for future success.

How to make this happen? One approach is to invite people to refocus on the picture of success. It is then to clarify how they can be even more effective. They can do this by focusing on the things they want to keep doing, start doing and stop doing.

Imagine you lead a team. Let’s explore how you can follow these steps in your own way.

People can refocus on
the picture of success

Super teams continually remind people of the story, strategy and the road to success. So gather people together and remind them of the following things.

The What – The specific goals we want to achieve are …

The Why – The specific benefits of achieving the goals are …

The How – The specific strategies we can follow to achieve the goals are …

Different teams use different templates for clarifying their aims. Here is one that focuses on the profits, products and people. You will, however, use your own template.

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If you wish, highlight the specific progress the team has made towards achieving the goals. It can be good to highlight when people have performed brilliantly and the principles they followed to do good work.

You can then move onto the habits you want people to pursue in the future. Make three flip charts with the following headings.

Keep doing: The specific things we want to keep doing are …

Start doing: The specific things we want to start doing are …

Stop doing: The specific things we want to stop doing are …

Give each person a pack of Post-it Notes and invite them to explore the themes mentioned above. If appropriate, they can cover all three topics at the same time.

You can begin by explaining each topic in turn. They can then write their suggestions for each area.

People can focus on what
they want to keep doing

You will explain the various themes in your own way. If appropriate, however, you may want to say something along the following lines.

Great teams maintain good habits. So I would like you to start by listing all the things you believe we should keep doing to achieve success.

These can be the key principles or the specific actions. If you write a principle, however, try to bring it to life by giving a concrete example

If you say ‘Keep giving great customer service,’ for instance, give a specific example of how this can be translated into action.

You can also describe the benefits of continuing to do the things you mention. Write one idea per Post-it, but you can write as many ideas as you wish.

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People can focus on what
they want to start doing

If appropriate, you may want to say something along the following lines when introducing this theme.

Great teams maintain good habits, but they sometimes do things to step up their game. So I would like you to write your ideas regarding what we can start doing.

Describe the things you believe we can start doing to improve our work, provide better customer service, manage our stakeholders, broaden our thinking, develop as a team or whatever.

Dare to be creative in your ideas. If possible, describe the potential benefits of doing these things.

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People can focus on what
they want to stop doing

If appropriate, you may want to say something along the following lines when introducing this theme.

Teams can sometimes get into the habit of doing things that are no longer effective. These may be hangovers from following old processes that no longer bring good returns.

Describe the things you believe we may want to stop doing. There may be meetings we can cut, reporting lines we can shorten, paper work we can ditch or other activities that distract from achieving our prime purpose.

Again, be creative with your ideas. Describe the benefits of stopping doing these things. There may, of course, also be some minuses. If so, describe how we can manage these consequences.

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Imagine that you have explained each of the themes you want people to explore. Give people 15 minutes to write as many Post-it Notes as they wish on each of the topics.

You can then invite each person to go up in turn and put their suggestions on the relevant flip charts. They are also to explain their reasons for each of the ideas.

People can co-ordinate what the team wants
to keep doing, start doing and stop doing

Spend some time discussing the key themes that have emerged. It can then be useful to move on to creating a co-ordination plan for delivering the goods.

Super teams go beyond producing action plans. They have a superb co-ordinator – or an agreed co-ordination process – that ensures the actions actually happen.

The co-ordinator’s role is to ensure that people channel their talents towards achieving the team’s goal. This can be important with knowledge workers who may fall into following their own agendas.

Imagine that you have a superb co-ordinator or have created a good co-ordination process. It will then be time to move onto the action plan. Encourage people:

To clarify the specific things they want to keep doing, start doing and stop doing.

To clarify how these plans can be translated into action.

To clarify when people will present the progress they have made towards making things happen.

Clarity is the starting point for any venture, but co-ordination provides the bridge to producing concrete results. Below is an exercise you can use to ensure people follow up the agreements.

Super teams focus on their agreed key strategies. One approach is to clarify what they can keep, start and stop doing. People can then channel their energies towards achieving success.

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