Start – Stop – Continue – Accelerate Tool

What is SSCA (Start – Stop – Continue – Accelerate)?

The SSCA activity is one of the most valuable activities you can perform with your team at a strategic retreat, annual meeting or quarterly review. It is a simple way for teams to reflect strategically on their core processes and categorize their activities into what’s working well, what’s not working well and what’s currently missing. 

By asking your team to categorize each activity into a bucket, it encourages them to critically think about the value of each process, product or service they provide.  

It is best used as a strategic tool for annual review among a team when performing a team retrospective and setting a direction for the new year or quarter. 

How do we use Start – Stop – Continue – Accelerate? 

Use the SSCA Worksheet whenever you feel it critical that your team takes a step back and gets out the day to day grind of business as usual. Thinking about each type of work they provide gives them a strategic, bird’s eye view of all of the value they provide and whether each activity is continuing to serve the team. 

As it’s core, it is a tool for identifying improvements and implementing change. The value of this activity is that it gives a simple overview of potential areas for improvement and a tactical list of what needs to change in the upcoming year. 

The Start – Stop – Continue – Accelerate worksheet helps with: 

  • Clarification of goals, priorities and activities 
  • Providing a structured way for your team to provide unbiased feedback 
  • Identifying areas of improvement and change 
  • Focusing on the positive activities that are working well and highlighting them 
  • Allowing team members to have input on the work they do everyday

To use Start – Stop – Continue – Accelerate with your team: 

  1. Start by providing a copy of the worksheet to each person and introducing the activity and why it’s important to you. Alternatively, print out a large copy of this worksheet and tape it up on a wall or whiteboard. 
  2. Introduce the 4 sections and start at the top with the “start” section. Ask each person to identify processes, activities, behaviors, etc that the team needs to start doing to be more successful. 
  3. If done at the individual level, give them each 10 minutes to fill out their worksheet. If done as a group, give them post-it notes and the same amount of time to generate their ideas. 
  4. Once your team has exhausted all ideas, ask one person to share and start to collect their ideas. Remember to allow time for discussion, disagreement or refinement of ideas. 
  5. Once you’ve captured all of the major points for the “start” section, continue to the “stop” section and repeat the above directions of capturing ideas, sharing ideas and allowing open discussion. 
  6. Once you’ve completed all 4 sections, do a quick high-level overview “gut check”. Ask your team the following question: “So let me make sure this is correct, as a group we think we will be successful in the future if we start these activities, stop these activities, continue these activities and accelerate these activities?” Make sure everyone agrees and buys into the plan. 

If time allows, start by creating a list of all activities that were captured and the category they were placed in and start to turn each one into an action plan. If some items cannot be executed immediately, make sure they are recorded and take them personally for follow up. 

Sometimes the team will want to start or stop activities that simply are not feasible. Make sure you always close the loop on these suggestions by acknowledging their feedback and providing honest transparent reasons for why the change cannot occur. Also, ask if there are any creative ideas on how the work might be improved even if large change cannot occur.

To download a free copy of the Start – Stop – Continue – Accelerate Worksheet, simply sign up here:

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