Personal Development Toolbox

Ideas to contribute to your success!

Stoplight Theory of Improvement

This article was written by University of Washington women’s Basketball Coach Mike Neighbors and shared with his permission.

I have made slight editing changes to adapt the message to all professions, not just basketball coaching.

If you want to download the original pdf, you can click here: STOPlight Theory

I hope you can find a few ideas from the list that you can apply. In Mike’s words” “All of these things are just examples to choose from… You could NEVER do them all so don’t try…”

A good way to get started is to select one idea from each color (or come up with one that fits for you) to focus on throughout the day.

If you find the article useful, please use one of the social sharing icons at the left of the article on a desktop or laptop, or at the top of the article on mobile devices.



THINGS I AM GOING TO STOP DOING: So many times in our day we make TO DO lists. It is just as important to have a list of things you WON’T DO! Those things vary for us all. Eliminating the distractions is vital to you making the most of your 24 hours in a day. Actually making a list of the things that WON’T do in your day to refer to throughout the day is a valuable tool. Examples: won’t check email until certain time, won’t “surf” the web until x number of things are done, won’t focus on anything that doesn’t effect your job until after the day’s most important task is completed, won’t focus on my “turkey’s” until my “eagles” are fed, won’t go home until my urgent pile is cleared, won’t go to lunch alone, won’t use sarcasm, won’t let things I can’t control effect the things I can, won’t resent others success, won’t fear failure, won’t be afraid of hearing bad news, won’t try to make everyone happy.

THINGS I AM GOING TO CONTINUE DOING: Identify the things that are positively impacting your day that you need to continue doing but might need to do so cautiously. These things can be positives when executed correctly but can border on negatives if you over/under utilize. Examples: Seek out people with opposite opinions, argue/debate/disagree, read and write, use data to make calculated decisions, telling others the truth, learn about leadership techniques but don’t be afraid to be different (Muppets principle), be unconventional, lead by insuring others can deal with adversity, focus on bright spots rather than total focus on deficient areas.

List actionable things you want to introduce into your daily routine that will positively impact your 24 hours. Examples: Speak in images, use least invasive correction that is needed, surround yourself with smart people that challenge you, earn trust, whisper criticism/shout praise, confront then move on, build relationships, show people how much you care rather than how much you know, Separation in the preparation, teach rather than coach in practice, coach rather than teach off the court, REHEARSE things more often in practice, focus on being better rather than being good, trust “blink” decisions, get all the facts, simplify, be productive rather than busy, spend time with the right people, take people with you.