Start, Stop, Continue

– how to find new ways to scale

Andres Zylberberg | Andres Zylberberg & Associates 

(article on website - click here)

When you think about waste collection, do the words ‘quality service’ come to mind?

The CityBin Co in Dublin, Ireland has turned quality service into a formidable growth strategy, so much so that the company has won Deloitte’s Best Managed Companies four years in a row as well as a European Business Award.

CEO Gene Brown successfully mastered the ‘Rockefeller Habits’ to grow his Dublin based business after being introduced to the Scaling Up Framework in 2009 when he flew his leadership team to Orlando, Florida, for a two-day ‘Mastering the Rockefeller Habits’ Workshop. When Ireland’s economy was hit hard by the global economic crisis later that year, Brown knew he needed to dig deeper. His company, like many others, was struggling. “We needed to do something new to get out of the quagmire,” he said.

Verne Harnish, Founder of the Scaling Up Framework, applies the ‘power of one’ to a range of growth strategies. Brown adapted ‘the power of one’ concept to his own needs, challenging every CityBin employee to find one thing the company could start, stop and continue.

The campaign, called ‘Bin It’, encouraged employees to submit their thoughts on valuable tasks, but also wasteful practices and unnecessary tasks they wanted to stop. Employees were challenged to find anything that was depleting time, money, energy or space without a value result.

‘Senior management just ask people to do things and load them on. We rarely take stuff away. Employees are often hesitant to ask a manager why they are doing something, even if it is obvious to them that it isn’t necessary,” said Brown.

He had a stark reminder of how much time could be wasted this way when he discovered a team member had spent three years keeping track of customer signups on a spreadsheet – something Brown had intended to monitor for only three months.

Start, Stop, Continue ended many wasteful practices for CityBin. Over one quarter, the company ‘binned’ more than 150 activities, across several departments. The campaign also brought a new phrase and philosophy to the company’s culture; a focus on reducing waste internally, as well as for their customers.

Start, Stop, Continue is regularly used as an external lens by businesses such as Atlassian and Google as an opportunity to ask customers which features they would like in a product. Google exposes customers to a list of product features then invites customers to vote on which they want or to submit new ideas.

The ‘one thing’ to Start, Stop or Continue has worked to improve Productivity for CityBin Co and Growth for Atlassian and Google. What could you do to gain a better sense of what is happening in your organisation using Start, Stop, Continue? Ask the question – are we listening to our employees? Are we listening to our clients and  stakeholders?

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