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Start, Stop, Continue: The Best Exercise Your Team Will Love

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Before we dive in, let me ask you this: 

Have you ever done Start, Stop, Continue exercise with your team?

If not, you are missing out on an incredible team bonding opportunity.

Watch our video below to learn the single best team building exercise:

If you dread team bonding exercises or feel like they are a waste of time, then Start, Stop, Continue might change your mind! This team building exercise I am about to teach you can:

  • Help your team be more productive
  • Encourage deeper collaboration
  • Assess what tasks are working and which aren’t

This is the team exercise my team and I do all the time. I also use it myself!

It’s called: Start, Stop, Continue.

The premise is simple. This team bonding exercise is a way for you to easily check-in with your team and your projects. Here are the goals of the exercise:

  • “Start” What should we be doing more of?
  • “Stop” What’s meh or not working? Let’s do less of that.
  • “Continue” What’s working? Let’s do more of that.

So, grab your coffee and get ready to level up your team dynamic—it’s time to kick things into high gear!

But first….

What is Start, Stop, Continue?

Start, Stop, Continue (SSC) is a dynamic team-building tool aimed at sparking honest conversations, boosting teamwork, and fueling progress, reflecting on what’s working, what’s not, and what to keep going.

But, when should I do Start, Stop, Continue?

The ideal times to conduct SSC sessions are:

  • Beginning of the year: For setting goals and expectations.
  • During team retreats: For promoting open dialogue in a relaxed setting.
  • Mid-year: For assessing progress and making necessary adjustments.
  • New management: Aligning strategies and objectives.
  • New team members: For integrating them into existing workflows and practices.

SSC is crucial for encouraging team growth, promoting transparency, ensuring accountability, and fostering adaptability. It’s like a compass guiding your team towards success.

For example: In a marketing team session, you might cut ineffective advertising channels (Stop), ramp up influencer partnerships (Start), and double down on successful email campaigns (Continue), resulting in concrete improvements in marketing outcomes.

3 Simple Elements of Start, Stop, Continue

Think of it as a post-mortem, but with a forward-thinking twist.

This simple yet powerful template guides you through recent tasks, helping you dissect what worked, what didn’t, and what needs to change for the future.

Ready to unlock the full potential of SSC? Let’s break down the elements:

#1 Start: What should you start doing?

It’s time to kickstart those engines with fresh ideas and initiatives. From upgrading outdated tools to revamping communication styles, this is your chance to set the stage for success. 

  • What tools should you start using?
  • Is there a communication style that might work better for your team?

It’s like a kickstarting change! What’s on your team’s to-do list?


  • Introducing new tools like 1Asana Asana or 2Trello Trello to streamline project management.
  • Embracing communication platforms like 3Slack Slack for smoother collaboration.
  • Revamping meeting formats with creative approaches 4Fishbowl Fishbowl for greater engagement and productivity.

Here are some creative meeting formats to try with your team:

  • Dare to Ask: During a team meeting, participants are encouraged to anonymously submit challenging questions related to the organization’s strategy. These questions are then discussed openly, allowing for deep exploration of different viewpoints and fostering critical thinking among team members (or employees).
  • World Cafe: For example, in a brainstorming session about improving customer service, participants are divided into small groups and rotate through different tables, each focused on a specific aspect of customer experience. As they move between tables, they share ideas, gather feedback, and generate innovative solutions, benefiting from diverse perspectives and ideas.
  • Gamification: Meetings incorporate elements of fun games, such as challenges, points, or rewards, to increase engagement, motivation, and collaboration among participants.

#2 Stop or “meh”: What should you stop doing?

Say goodbye to those productivity vampires that are holding your team back. Whether it’s outdated traditions or inefficient tools, what’s not working or feeling just “meh”?

For example:

  • Dropping tedious meeting formats that feel more like a Monday morning chore.
  • Deleting outdated software that’s slower than a snail on a coffee break.
  • Putting an end to communication methods that cause confusion or hinder collaboration.

Now let’s roll up our sleeves and tackle the hurdles that are holding us back.

From communication methods that feel like a maze to tools that just don’t cut it, we’re diving deep to unearth what’s hindering our productivity and innovation.

Take a hard look at both some technical glitches and behavioral hurdles:

  • Are there communication methods causing confusion? 
  • Is your team using a tool that doesn’t work for you? Is there a meeting style or a communication method that isn’t working?
  • Are there communication channels or platforms that are underutilized or ineffective?
  • Are there opportunities for streamlining processes or automating repetitive tasks?

Don’t just identify the problems; find practical solutions together by having great brainstorming sessions! For more brainstorm ideas, check out this: 16 Team Collaboration Tips Every Workplace Needs to Know

#3 Continue: What should you keep doing?

Don’t forget to celebrate those hidden gems—the activities and behaviors that have been working like a charm. Whether it’s brainstorming sessions that yield brilliant ideas or teamwork that deserves recognition, these are the practices worth keeping. 

And as you reflect on what’s been working like a charm for your team lately, consider the tools, techniques, and approaches you’ve experimented with since the last review.

Once you’ve identified what’s working well, prioritize cultivating and refining those practices, such as:

  • Mind mapping brainstorming technique you and your team discovered, which greatly enhances your team members creativity and problem-solving abilities.
  • The regular knowledge-sharing sessions that keep your team updated and engaged.
  • The instances of outstanding teamwork or collaboration that deserve a round of applause.

This targeted effort towards strengthening successful practices ensures that you continue to leverage your strengths and create more areas of improvement within your team.

Now that you’re armed with the knowledge of Start, Stop, Continue strategies, it’s time to put them into action.

The ONLY Start, Stop, Continue Template You’ll Need

With Start, Stop, Continue, you are enhancing your team members to pinpoint what’s holding them back, what new approaches to take, and what’s already working well.

We’ll help you identify obstacles holding back progress, adopt new strategies for improvement, and promote successful practices for long-term success, providing clarity and direction every step of the way.

Materials Needed:

  • Multi-colored sticky notes
  • A large space
  • Pens

Pick a Topic

You can do this exercise with any topic–work, personal or project specific. You can even do it by yourself, with a pair or in a large group. It’s very flexible—which is why it’s so great. The first thing you want to do is pick a topic area. The one my team just did was on “Marketing at Science of People.”

This is something we all work on, think about and is important for the business. You want to pick a topic that matters—something that affects everyone on your team, or greatly impacts the bottom line or even a topic that needs a reset.

The flexibility of this exercise allows for adaptation to different team sizes and objectives, making it a versatile tool for fostering meaningful discussions and driving positive change.

Business Ideas:

  • Financial Plans
  • Year in Review
  • Marketing Strategy
  • Branding
  • Team Tasks

Personal Ideas:

  • Health
  • Family Chores
  • Household Finances
  • Scheduling and Time Management
  • Family Values

And if you’re further interested in leveling up your skills, check out this goodie:

Get Unstuck and Beat Burnout

Do you need to recharge? Are you burnt out? It’s not your fault!

Learn the science behind your burnout and use my framework for getting unstuck, increasing your energy, and preventing burnout from happening again.

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Sticky It Up

The next step is for everyone on your team to write everything that comes to mind for that topic. Each thing should get its own sticky note. If you can, give everyone their own color post-it. Specifically, everyone should answer these questions and write as many post-its as they can:

  • What tasks do you do related to this topic?
  • What tasks do you think should be done related to this topic but aren’t being done?
  • What ideas do you have about this topic?

For example, my team did this for Marketing Strategy at Science of People. Here are a few of the things written on post-its. We only wrote down one or two words to keep it easy and below, I added descriptions for explanation for you:

  • Blog Posts: Write blog posts about people skills
  • Medium: Submit articles to Medium
  • Facebook: Post articles to Facebook
  • YouTube: Make a video for each article on YouTube
  • HuffPo: Syndicate articles to Huffington Post
  • LinkedIn: Put articles on our LinkedIn
  • Twitter: Post articles to Twitter multiple times per week
  • Email: Send out articles in email newsletters
  • Instagram: Make an image for the article and post it on Instagram

This list can be as long as you like.

Place the Tasks

Now that everyone has written their tasks, they should begin to place them on a large white board or table with three columns.

Start Column: People should place their sticky note in this column if they think it’s a task that should be started–meaning it’s not being done at all or enough right now.

Stop Column: People should place their sticky note in this column if they think it’s a task that should be stopped–it’s not productive or effective.

Continue Column: People should place their sticky note in this column if they think it’s a task that should be continued or enhanced. These are tasks that are working well.

People can place these in each column and if each person has their own color it is easy to see who placed what where.

Special Note: If you are worried people might be shy, you can give everyone the same color so people do not have to be embarrassed by their answers. Sometimes anonymity is a good thing if you want people to be honest.

Here is where our team placed the tasks above:


  • Medium
  • LinkedIn
  • Instagram


  • Twitter
  • Facebook
  • HuffPo


  • YouTube
  • Email Marketing
  • Blog Posts


This is where you can discuss and debate the list. Any disagreements? Explanations that need to be made? Do it now! This is the best part of the exercise because it allows people to re-evaluate tasks that they or others might be doing that don’t serve them.

What if there are disagreements? Good! Then the activity is really getting to the heart of the matter. Disagreement isn’t bad—you can make a great situation out of disagreeable people. And it’s a lot easier if you know how to influence others.

I like to put questionable tasks in between columns. For example, my team and I couldn’t agree about StumbleUpon. We get some traffic, but not a ton. It went in between the Stop and Continue columns to be re-evaluated in 3 months.

*Be sure to create a safe space. Make it clear that every idea is welcome and no idea should be shot down too quickly.

Assignments + Action

Once everyone is happy with the board, assignments and re-assignments, action should be taken. What tasks should be re-assigned? Who is closing up or ending the “Stop” tasks? Who is targeting the “Start” tasks? Pull out your to-do lists and your calendars and make each task an action step.

Set a check-in time for questionable tasks. Did you have a lot of disagreement? Agree to gather data and intel and reconvene sometime soon to re-address.

Bonus: Really, Any Topic!

You can really do this with any topic. For example, I wanted to do “Health” at the beginning of the year for my partner and I. My husband and I made a bunch of sticky notes and then made our own board. It ended up looking like this:


  • Morning protein shakes
  • Taking brainstorm walks
  • A better evening routine


  • Eating out on weeknights
  • Eating after 7pm
  • Soda


  • Hiking
  • Afternoon Yoga
  • Badminton
  • Soccer

It was a great couple activity. We started blocking out time on our calendars for activities, purged the house of soda and bought some great protein shakes. Boom!

Try this activity with your team, your spouse or your family.

Now that you’ve got a comprehensive understanding of the Start, Stop, Continue exercise and its potential positive impact on team dynamics and productivity, let’s delve into its practical application.

In wrapping up our look at Start, Stop, Continue strategies, it’s clear: these principles pack a punch when it comes to sparking real change in both your professional and personal life.

3 Real-Life Start, Stop, Continue Scenarios

Looking to elevate your game in business or personal life?

Say hello to the Start, Stop, Continue framework—a simple yet powerful tool for catalyzing change and driving tangible progress.

Let’s dive into how these strategies play out in the real world across different scenarios:

#1 Business Strategy and Operations

  • Start: Seek out fresh opportunities to supercharge your business, whether it’s launching innovative products, tapping into new markets, or embracing cutting-edge tech.
  • Stop: Cut loose ineffective or outdated practices dragging your business down, from underperforming products to obsolete processes.
  • Continue: Double down on what really works. Identify and refine successful strategies, whether it’s refining marketing tactics, enhancing customer service, or expanding proven business models.

#2 Team Development

  • Start: Spot new ways to boost teamwork, communication, and productivity. Think fresh team-building activities, upgraded communication tools, or skill workshops.
  • Stop: Nip in the bud behaviors or practices holding your team back. Say goodbye to communication hurdles, micromanagement, or unproductive meetings.
  • Continue: Lock in the good stuff that’s driving success and celebrate what’s already working—whether it’s high-fiving teamwork or ongoing professional development initiatives.

3# Personal Development

  • Start: Cultivate new habits and skills to fuel personal growth, whether it’s embracing a new fitness regimen, learning a language, or diving into mindfulness practices.
  • Stop: Ditch habits, behaviors, or thoughts that hold you back. Cut out procrastination, challenge self-limiting beliefs, and kick unhealthy habits to the curb.
  • Continue: Keep up the good stuff that works. Lock in the habits and routines that keep you on track, maintaining work-life balance and nurturing your well-being.

For more insights on mastering work-life balance, check out these! 21 Essential Work-Life Balance Tips You Wish You Knew Sooner

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) on Start, Stop, Continue

What exactly is the Start, Stop, Continue exercise?

The Start, Stop, Continue exercise involves evaluating current practices to identify actions to start, stop, and continue in order to improve team performance and effectiveness.

Why is Start, Stop, Continue essential for helping teams grow and improve?

Start, Stop, Continue is a practical tool for teams to assess their performance systematically, promoting a culture of ongoing improvement. By recognizing what’s effective (Continue), what requires adjustment (Stop), and what new strategies to implement (Start), teams can tackle obstacles and leverage strengths, developing progress and advancement.

When and why should leaders use this method?

Leaders should integrate the Start, Stop, Continue method into regular practices. By using this approach in meetings, retrospectives, and reviews, leaders spark open communication, fuel innovation, and create a culture where learning and accountability thrive.

How frequently should teams conduct the Start, Stop, Continue exercise?

The frequency varies based on team needs. Some conduct it quarterly or biannually to coincide with project milestones, while others prefer more frequent sessions.

What are some common challenges teams may encounter during the exercise?

Challenges may include resistance to change, difficulty in identifying actionable items, or concerns about expressing grievances. Open communication, trust-building, and emphasizing the exercise’s purpose can help mitigate these challenges.

How can teams ensure effective implementation of actions identified during the exercise?

It’s crucial to assign ownership, establish clear timelines and accountability measures, and regularly review progress. Incorporating action items into team meetings or project plans helps maintain momentum and track results.

Are there variations of the Start, Stop, Continue exercise tailored to specific team needs or goals?

Yes, teams can customize the exercise to focus on specific areas such as communication, process improvement, or team dynamics. Variations like “Start-Stop-Keep” or “Start-Stop-Change-Continue” offer alternative frameworks for reflection and action planning.

Can the Start, Stop, Continue exercise be conducted remotely or in virtual team settings?

Absolutely! Teams can adapt the exercise to virtual environments using video conferencing platforms, collaborative online tools, or asynchronous communication channels.

How can teams measure the effectiveness of the Start, Stop, Continue exercise over time?

Measurable outcomes such as improved team morale, productivity metrics, or stakeholder feedback provide indicators of success. Regular reflection and revisiting action plans help refine approaches and sustain improvements.

What resources or materials are helpful for conducting the Start, Stop, Continue exercise?

Templates, facilitator guides, or example scenarios can structure discussions and capture action items effectively. Training on effective feedback and communication skills enhances the exercise’s impact.

Key Takeaways

Now that you’ve uncovered the potential of the Start, Stop, Continue exercise to boost team dynamics and productivity, let’s prepare for the next phase! Let’s take a moment to review the valuable insights we’ve gathered.

  • Start, Stop, Continue Booster: Just like a turbo boost for your car, Start, Stop, Continue serves as the secret weapon for uncovering your team’s potential, revving up productivity, and overcoming obstacles.
  • Full-Throttle Team Dynamics: Imagine your team as a high-performance engine. With Start, you initiate action; with Stop, you eliminate what weighs you down, and with Continue, you navigate ahead smoothly, maintaining momentum and efficiency.
  • Dive into the Trenches of Transformation: Implementation isn’t just theory; it’s about rolling up your sleeves and diving headfirst into the trenches of transformation. It’s about taking action and making real changes happen.
  • Tailored Strategies for Unique Teams: Start, Stop, Continue isn’t a one-size-fits-all solution. It’s a Swiss Army knife, adaptable to your team’s unique challenges and goals, ensuring that your strategies are tailored to maximize effectiveness.
  • Fortress of Trust and Collaboration: Trust is the cornerstone of effective teamwork. Start, Stop, Continue creates a fortress of trust where feedback is celebrated, fostering collaboration, resolving conflicts, and turning obstacles into opportunities.
  • Deep Dive into Self-Discovery: Reflecting on the past isn’t just about reminiscing; it’s about learning and self-discovery. Start, Stop, Continue encourages teams (or peers) to dive deep into their experiences, extracting valuable insights to fuel future growth.
  • Endless Buffet of Strategies: Start, Stop, Continue offers a diverse range of variations and strategies, catering to the unique needs and preferences of your team. It’s like a buffet of options, allowing you to pick and choose what works best.
  • Embrace the Freedom of the Digital Age: In today’s digital world, Start, Stop, Continue isn’t confined to traditional face-to-face meetings. It embraces the freedom of the digital age, enabling remote collaboration and flexibility through virtual platforms.
  • Celebrate Victories and Learn from Defeats: Success isn’t just about achieving goals; it’s about celebrating victories and learning from defeats. Start, Stop, Continue encourages teams to measure success beyond numbers, focusing on the pulse of team morale and continuous improvement.
  • Equip Your Team for Success: Start, Stop, Continue isn’t just a guide; it’s a roadmap to success. It empowers your team with the wisdom and tools needed to navigate challenges, drive progress, and steer towards their goals with confidence.

And now, armed with these insights, let’s embark on this thrilling journey of transformation together!

In the journey of growth, it’s not about where you start or where you stop; it’s about what you continue.
Want more help for your team? Check out this! How to Build Your Team in 10 Steps

Article sources
  1. Asana
  2. Trello
  3. Slack
  4. Fishbowl

8 thoughts on “Start, Stop, Continue: The Best Exercise Your Team Will Love”

  1. Roberto Strociak

    Excelent information, I am going to apply with my teams in the next days to proof the method and see the results…

  2. Roberto Strociak

    Excelent information, I am going to apply with my teams in the next days to proof the method and see the results…

  3. Roberto Strociak

    Excelent information, I am going to apply with my teams in the next days to proof the method and see the results…

  4. Roberto Strociak

    Excelent information, I am going to apply with my teams in the next days to proof the method and see the results…

  5. I am going to try this at our teams retreat. This will provide an opportunity really address Processes that are currently being used.

  6. I am going to try this at our teams retreat. This will provide an opportunity really address Processes that are currently being used.

  7. I am going to try this at our teams retreat. This will provide an opportunity really address Processes that are currently being used.

  8. I am going to try this at our teams retreat. This will provide an opportunity really address Processes that are currently being used.

Comments are closed.

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