When your employee comes to you and says, “We've got a challenge and here are some solutions; what do you think?,” rather than “We've got a problem; what should I do?” you know you've come a long way. Bob Fleming, owner of Classic Remodeling, Johns Island, S.C., has reached that point. He credits it, in part, to something he calls “start, stop, and continue.”

At their annual review, CR employees get an evaluation form that asks the following:

  • What do you want us to start doing; what are we not doing right now that we should be doing to help you do your job?
  • What do you want us to stop doing that's hindering you in your job?
  • What do we do that we should continue doing?
  • “Start, stop, and continue opens the discussion,” says Fleming, who has been using the method for nearly 10 years. He used to get a lot of “stops” and “starts” –— like “start getting me my paperwork earlier in the job” — but now he gets more “continues,” he says. “I very rarely get a complaint I can't address, and it leads us to talk about personal and business goals. It has definitely improved communication.”