We all have those relationships where if the person would just stop doing this or start doing that the relationship would improve dramatically.
You already have one or two people in mind, don't you? A colleague or a loved one? What you want probably is not a major change to their behavior, but it would have a major impact on your relationship.
At SM Advisors, we recently completed our annual development reviews, commonly known as performance reviews. We use a simple and effective tool during the review process called the "Stop, Start and Continue Exercise." It has proven to be one of the most effective tools for constructive change in any relationship in life.
We start with the stop-start-continue template (download at stopsellingvanillaicecream.com) that is filled out by both people in the relationship (employee and leader/supervisor, colleagues, friends, spouses ?) in advance of the in-person meeting.
Two questions are answered:
? What can I (the employee) start doing, stop doing and continue doing to improve my performance, job satisfaction and bring more value to the company and myself?
? What can the company and my leader/supervisor start doing, stop doing and continue doing to help me (the employee) become more effective in my position, bring more value to the organization, improve the work environment and increase my career satisfaction?
These questions are then reversed and completed by the leader/supervisor:
Once both people have documented their answers to these two questions, they get together offsite for a 90-minute discussion that will change their relationship forever.
The "stop doing" category often is the toughest part of the exercise, but it also can also offer the greatest growth opportunities. For the really sensitive issues that you want them to "stop doing," reword it in a positive way to make it something they need to "start doing."
As we look at the three actions, often the person is happy to "start" doing something differently. After all, someone can't manage or change something he doesn't even know about or understand.
You finish the process on a positive foundation to move forward by talking about what you want them to "continue doing."
This is where you can encourage the person to keep doing those things that bring value to your relationship. You can complete the exercise in any order.
There are tangible benefits to the exercise:
? It is "crazy simple" and I think that's the reason it is so effective.
? It focuses on changing behavior, which makes it easier to stay professional, unemotional and respectful.
? It gets the greatest growth opportunities out on the table.
? Both parties remain objective and fair because the other team member is answering the same questions about them. Wanting respect usually leads to giving it.
? The process recognizes that each person has ownership in the relationship.
This process can help reset a relationship and put the past behind. In our team development sessions, we like to call it "dropping the backpack." You can let go of all the weight of things from the past that you are carrying with you and gain a clear perspective moving forward.
If you want to improve relationships in every aspect of life, using this process can help gain clarity and resolve issues that are holding you back from a fulfilling and enjoyable relationship.