Keep-Start-Stop: The self-assessment technique that leads to growth

At AREC 2014, Wendy Alexander from Barfoot & Thompson spoke about a successful method of improving performance called ‘keep-start-stop’. Manos Findikakis of Agents’Agency explains how it works, and how some of Agents’Agency high performers are using it to set themselves up for the new year.

The holiday season is often a time to reflect on the year you’ve had and to plan for the year ahead. We all have improvements we’d like to make and goals we want to accomplish, but sometimes it’s difficult to know where to begin – and even harder to see our ambitions through to the end.

Research has shown that setting your aim and successfully hitting the target ultimately boils down to structure and feedback. Using a simple but effective technique such as Keep-Start-Stop can turn vague ideas and wishful thinking into real goals by providing a framework for your objectives and a self-lead assessment.

Professor Phil Daniels of Brigham Young University developed the Keep-Start-Stop method as a way to facilitate critical thinking when setting goals. Today, this technique is used by academic institutions, businesses and individuals as an assessment and strategy guide.

Keep-Start-Stop serves as a road map, reminding you of what you’re doing right and keeping you on track to make lasting improvements.

Reflecting on your year, ask yourself three simple questions:

  • What should I keep doing because it’s working for me?
  • What do I need to start doing to reach my goals?
  • What do I need to stop doing because it’s hindering my progress?

Determine which activities are moving you closer to your goals and keeping you healthy, wealthy and wise.

This question helps you determine which activities are moving you closer to your goals and keeping you healthy, wealthy and wise. Anything that is fulfilling, has a track record of positive results and adds value to your life goes under Keep. It may be helpful to enlist the opinions of colleagues, friends and family to identify your best qualities, especially since our internal critic can make us blind to our own strengths. As you consider the answers to this question, you also need to think about how you build on these strengths and continue to grow in a positive direction.

This question is to encourage you to think about what you need to add to your life to reach your goals. It may contain tasks you’re procrastinating on, the information you need to gather or skills you need to build to attain the next level. The Start category is also where you put new opportunities.

The Stop question is probably the most difficult and requires you to deal with any bad habits, stresses and activities that are hindering your progress. These things are often time- or energy-consuming but provide very little in the way of advancement or happiness.

In some cases, it may be as easy as changing your mindset or adjusting the way you approach a task. In more critical circumstances, you may have to completely eliminate behaviours, thought processes or even relationships that no longer serve your purposes.

Lastly, place your list somewhere prominent, and take time every day or so to revisit your answers and remind yourself of what you’re trying to accomplish. Conduct regular reviews of your overall objectives and any milestones you’ve established to ensure they’re still working for you. Keep things flexible, and don’t be afraid to make changes as necessary. We are, after all, works in progress!



Keep – Delegation. It took a long time for me to let go of tasks and responsibilities in response to the enormous growth we have had in the last 18 months. This has allowed me to get important projects finished on time, and in many cases with a better outcome than I had originally hoped for.

Start – We have three new projects for 2017 – our own NEXT CRM, Prospecting Plan and concierge service coming up – so for me it’s a case of prioritising the next actions, simplifying moving parts and successful execution.

Stop – Ad hoc meeting schedules! I feel I’m too flexible with my schedule sometimes and allow it to be interrupted with impromptu chats or ‘meetings’; this puts pressure on me after hours to have urgent matters attended to and completed.



Keep – Staying focused on prospecting and face-to-face appointments. Presenting the Eview opportunity at large-scale events has been something that has been truly successful for us this year.

Start – Since changing roles within the company from sales to recruitment, I have learned that prospecting for new sales listings is no different to prospecting for people, so we can continue to grow our franchising business. Having a defined strategy, a clear marketing plan and set KPIs will help me achieve my goals this year.

Stop – Saying ‘Yes’ to everything! Saying ‘No’ to people is such a skill, and one that I need to develop with the help of my coach, Tanja [Jones]. My day starts well with scheduled appointments and then interruptions start, which leaves me with work to catch up on at home late at night, which is not ideal. So I need to learn to say ‘no’ politely and direct the enquiry to the right people within our group.

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Manos Findikakis

Manos Findikakis is the CEO of Agents'Agency, Australia's first multi-brand real estate network.