Critical Question! What Do You Start, Stop, and Keep?

David Paul Carter
2 min readMar 17, 2021


Our challenges today continue to expand and morph into unexpected and unplanned developments. I see many leaders thinking inward and focusing heavily on safety as we adjust to whatever “new normal” comes out the other side. Do you need to run all the scenarios and be mindful of cash and take care of your people? Yes! Absolutely!

However, now is the time to focus on how your company will look and evolve in the next 6 months to a year. The COVID-19 virus has changed how we shop, travel and work. All our assumptions about customers, sales cycle and most importantly, revenue, are transforming. Is it conceivable that you can continue with the same business model that you have today?

These are HARD questions that we all now consider in our quarterly planning sessions (you do have one, don’t you?). How do you prepare for these sessions?

I have found that a very simple, pragmatic and impactful tool can help you and your leadership team frame planning discussions. This tool is the Start-Stop-Keep Survey developed by the Gazelles organization. You can download a copy of this tool here.

Each member of you leadership team completes these three straightforward questions individually with specific and actionable answers:

1. What should we Start doing? Starts are items we should consider doing that we are not doing now. It helps focus on opportunities to improve.

2. What should we Stop doing? Stops are items that are not working and need to be scrapped in order to save energy and bandwidth for other opportunities.

3. What should we Keep doing? Keeps are items that are working well and we should continue doing. Consider how Items that are working well can be replicated across your company.

Use these questions to help address issues about:

  • business strategy
  • employees
  • new business ventures
  • existing relationships
  • existing customer groups
  • product development
  • operational procedures
  • and much, much more

Your answers can be for your whole company or specific to your department or yourself. For even further insight, you can have direct reports do a Start-Stop-Keep, as well. You can then use feedback from your entire team in your own Start-Stop-Keep.

Prior to your Planning Session everyone returns their answers to the session facilitator who compiles them into a clean list with duplicates removed. This list provides a solid foundation to discuss the HARD decisions to keep your company moving and staying ahead.

You will most often be very surprised at the answers from your team! And this helps everyone get on the same page. Contact me to discuss how to implement the Start-Stop-Keep for your next quarterly planning session.

© 2020–2021 David Paul Carter. All rights reserved.

Originally published at on March 17, 2021.



David Paul Carter

I empower change helping passionate companies and leaders remove constraints, effect change, and generate growth. See my Carter Reports at