Do you ever really “arrive” in your business life? Once you do, does that mean you can turn off the juice and just coast? It really doesn’t work that way, does it. Instead, what I have experienced and learned while running my business is, you never arrive.
One of the most important “cues” for building an organization, a successful organization, is determining if you’re on the right path or do you need to redefine it. How can you do that? How do you obtain the insights you need to take the next best steps? During my consulting and coaching career, I have gained so much wisdom from my mentors, clients, friends and authors, and the composite of this learning has provided me with the context to formulate my coaching. These are the best practices of:
- the SmartPlan360™ Platform
- the Knowledge and Strategic Charting
- the Four P’s of Branding
- the Start/Stop/Continue Workshop
- the Rethinking For A Change Workshops
- the SmartGuides
- the SmartCard
Now, I would like to discuss the concept behind the “Start/Stop/Continue” Workshop.
On January 1, 2005, I started my firm by setting up 25 interviews with leading CEOs that I either knew personally or I knew about to ask them two questions, “What do companies in this state need most and what don’t they need?” I conducted all these interviews at a place selected by the CEO, including their private office, Starbucks, hotel cafe’s and one at their home. The state was Florida, where I lived at the time.
It was immediately apparent that these CEOs welcomed the opportunity to share their wisdom that they had gathered over many years. It’s likely because these super-successful CEOs didn’t have too many peers, they could confide in. Their thoughts were crystal clear and cut to the chase.
I had two ground rules: I asked the CEO to speak candidly, and I suggested a 30-minute interview to run longer only if the CEO wanted to talk on. What I learned was fascinating.
- What they wanted most was a strategic firm that could help them analyze their business from many different angles.
- What they didn’t want was help with their graphics, website and what one CEO called the Foo-Foo.
From this guidance I realized that there were three distinct ways their business was being impacted, what they needed to either Start, Stop, or Continue. What they needed most was help finding the right balance by taking one or more of these simple but powerful actions. This is where the idea of a Workshop with the senior leader, managers and a facilitator was created.
This exercise is simple to facilitate but creates powerful, long-lasting results. It’s an opportunity for the leadership team to air their best ideas and express their deepest concerns. Perhaps a program, which was once a fantastic way, to attract new clients has worn out its welcome but no one wants to say so because it was the CEOs brainchild! This is the opportunity for everyone, including the CEO, to speak frankly and rethink a new strategy that fits their new marketplace.
The “Start/Stop/Continue” Workshops has provided organizations of all types and sizes with the opportunity to talk about whatever they felt was important. This collaboration always produces a stronger and more cohesive team which allows them to make better decisions. After all, the point of a meeting is not to meet— it’s to make decisions. I have long observed the most cohesive leadership teams are those that can meet candidly and arrive at a high-quality decision within a short timeframe. These Workshops are a staple of healthy teams each year.