Do your Forum meetings feel a bit stale? Do certain things make you sigh, because it feels like you have to grin and bear it? Writer William Phillips is credited with the observation that boredom is a form of criticism.
Forum Moderators can use the Stop, Start, Continue exercise to separate the nuggets of gold from the rocks that weigh down the group. Group members get a chance to process the meetings for their likes and dislikes. They can dissect how the meeting operates.
Putting Stop, Start, Continue Into Practice
STOP: group members identify things that are counterproductive, ineffective or impractical.
START: Everyone begins by pointing out what is working well for them, either as a team or as individuals. The group uses this time to respond to the STOP issues with proposed solutions.
CONTINUE: The group concludes what it will stop doing, start doing and continue doing.
Stop, Start, Continue is most effective when you start with a few ground rules.
- Appoint a scribe to list comments for each segment. Either use three flip charts or create three sections on a white board (using three marker colors helps with differentiation.)
- People must feel free to voice their opinions, without fear of a negative response. The moderator must re-direct conversation If it turns into a non-constructive grievance session.
- The discussion is about how the Forum meeting is or is not working. Concerns about specific behaviors should be brought up as a shared experience and avoid individual censures.
- Every group member must participate.
- End the session with clarity on what happens next.
Stop, Start, Continue is like mining for gold. When Forums pitch the unwanted rocks, they can focus on the gold and renew their satisfaction. It’s a great exercise to use once a year, possibly on your retreat,