Simple Questions for Improving Performance
Feedback is essential for our professional growth: it helps us identify and build the skills we need for success. But asking for feedback can be daunting, particularly when we fear that it might not be wholly positive. “Stop – Keep Doing – Start” helps us ask for focused, action-based feedback. The questions are simple:
- What should I stop doing?
- What should I keep doing?
- What should I start doing?
These questions are affirming, action-focused and quick.
- Affirming – The questions push others to think of specific things that you do well, as well as encouraging them to say what you could do better.
- Action-focused – The comments made give you a practical insight into the impact of your behavior on others, and explain precisely what you need to do to improve.
- Quick – In many cases, they allow people to give good-quality feedback in just a few minutes.
Stop – Keep Doing – Start can be used in requesting help and feedback from others as well as giving feedback to others.
Also, this works best when the questions are asked verbally: It’s not intended to replace more formal feedback processes, such as performance reviews.
How to Use
What Should I STOP Doing?
- Look closely at the behavior that you’ve been asked to stop doing. Do you understand the feedback, and why it’s important to the person who gave it? If not, ask for clarification.
- What opportunities will changing your behavior create, and how will this change improve your working life? Think about the positive impact that change could bring.
- It can be upsetting to learn that you’re doing something that your boss or your peers want you to stop. However, remember that they will hopefully be looking at this from a business perspective, and not making a personal criticism.
- Try to manage your feelings, and focus on the value in what they’re saying.
What Should I KEEP Doing?
- These are the actions and behaviors that your colleagues appreciate. To understand how you could incorporate these tasks more fully into your role, think about the following questions:
- Do any of these suggestions surprise you? If so, why?
- Do any of these behaviors resonate with you emotionally? For example, do you experience a state of flow when you’re engaged in them?
- What specific skills are you developing as a result these actions? Are you using strengths that you didn’t realize you had? If so, how could you apply these strengths to other projects?
What Should I START Doing?
- The feedback that you receive with this last question points to gaps in your current performance. These suggestions can help you look at issues that you might not have addressed until now.
- Look carefully at the things that your colleagues think you should start doing. What advantages will they provide to you and to others?
- Do any of these tasks, projects, or behaviors make you feel anxious or afraid? If so, have you avoided these things because of a fear of failure or some other blindspot?
- Think carefully about why you haven’t addressed these things in the past, and what you can do to overcome your reluctance to start them.
- Do any of these new activities require skills or information that you don’t have? If so, create a plan for gaining the skills you need to succeed.
- If, after reflection, you still don’t understand why starting something new is important, ask for clarification from the person who gave you the feedback. You may also benefit from some coaching on the subject.
Learning what others think of our performance can be a little scary as we are just not sure what to expect – It is our reaction to it the feedback that makes all the difference. Will you embrace it? Your response to this question can mean the difference between good performance and great performance!