The Stop Start More Less Grid or process is a very effective way to keep track of the changes you will make to create the improvements you want.
It begs a question – what form should the grid or matrix take?
The Background To The Stop Start More Less Grid or Matrix
It was based on my thoughts on how to improve results using the 80/20 principle and recognising the constraints that every business owner works with – time, money and other resources.
I’d noticed from my experience of working with consultants, working as a consultant and bad press concerning improvement projects that never produced the expected results that change is difficult.
It seemed to me that this is partly because the change agent is trying to get a quart out of a pint pot.
To do more, you have to identify what you will do less.
Stop Start More Less Tripped Off The Tongue
I started referring to the process as stop, start, more or less.
That’s because “stop or start” and “more or less” seemed the be the more popular ways of linking the phrases.
The first grids I drew and used were exactly like that.
A Better Way
Experience always helps you to find a better way.
I find it easier to form a two by two matrix with:
- Stop and Less on top
- More and Start on the bottom
When you’re planning an improvement project, it’s usually very easy to come up with ideas of activities you’re going to start doing or you intend to do more.
It’s the way that 99% of improvement projects are prepared.
But things don’t get done unless you create spare time or spare money.
I want you to think about where those resources are going to come from before you commit to doing more.
Old habits are tough to change. People (including you and me) find it easy to do what we’ve always done.
Without conscious effort and attention, we won’t change and there won’t be the time to do the important new things.
If you identify the time and money you can save through the stop and less elements of improvement, you have a budget for how much you can start and do more.
If you can’t find the balance you want, you have to take a much harder look and force yourself to answer difficult questions:
For things you do at the moment:
- Why are you so committed to doing this in the future?
- How can you be sure that this is giving you a high return on the time or money invested?
- Is it really one of the best uses of your time or money?
- If you are committed to doing this for emotional reasons, how can you improve the expected return?
For things you’ve identified that you want to do:
- Why do you believe that this is a good thing to do?
- What return on time of money invested do you expect to get?
- How confident are you that you will get the return you expect?
- How can you make yourself more confident?
To be blunt, if something you do at the moment is giving you X and something new could give you 4X, you’ll either accept that you must change or force yourself to acknowledge that you might not be chasing the right goal.
Is Your Overall Goal What YOU Really Want To Achieve?
Sometimes we have goals that are things we believe we should do rather than what we want to do. We’re making the mistake of trying to live up to someone else’s expectations rather than our own.
Perhaps “making £250,000 profit per year” isn’t your real goal after all.
If you get to £150,000 you might reach a comfort zone that let’s you experience other things you actually value more. Most common are more time with your family or pursuing a personal ambition, interest or hobby.
This is why it’s important to be clear on your Primary Aim. It helps you to determine the role your business will play in your life.
Start With Stop And Less
Prepare your grid.
It can be a spreadsheet or a Word document or a piece of A4 paper with a line down the middle and across the middle.
My advice is to start with Stop and Less.
Identify what you will give up.
And when you review it every day or week, the top section reminds you that your improvement project relies on you freeing time and resources.
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