The Rule of Three

David Hadley

Looking back through blogs I have written in the past and recently being reminded of the rule of three, I thought it appropriate to revisit this view.

I recall reading two articles in relation to how to perform better in business. Both articles listed 7 techniques/attitudes each to assist you in performing better in your business. There was a duplication of 2 items that both listed, giving a combined total of 12. Having to concentrate on 12 items at once could possible overwhelm you. It would also make the challenge of completing them appear very daunting. Then I noted that one of the articles suggested too pick three items and concentrate on them over the next week or so. This as you may have heard us mention before refers to the ‘rule of three’.

Some time ago I attended a seminar where a ex US Marine spoke of the rule of three. This is something that the United States Marine Corp believes strongly in. They believe that the rule dictates that a person should limit his or her attention to three tasks or goals. Anything more and you can become overextended and confused. They experimented with a rule of four and found that effectiveness plummeted.

Three things can easily be remembered.  Anymore and our retention suffers especially if under stress.

You can apply the rule of three to most things in life whether its business or private.

As this is a business blog let’s look at how we could apply it for a business. If business is struggling at the moment, take a look hard look at what is going wrong and list the three most important areas that need improving? Concentrate on those, even seek assist if required.

If business is going well, look at the three things you are doing right and don’t let them deteriorate. You can also look at three things that could disrupt your success and protect them.

With the two articles I received the three that stood out to me were;

  1. Enjoyment/ Business is fun: We are in business or in the work force for a long period of time. If we don’t enjoy what we do our performance will suffer. A British Psychologist “Dr Robert Holden” often emphasises that you can either choose to have a good or bad day. A good easy read about this is the book ‘Fish’ written by Stephen C. Lundin, Harry Paul and John Christensen. I will discuss this book in my next blog.
  2. I know I can: As Henry Ford said, “If you think you can or you think you can’t, you are right”.

Take control, own it and be accountable for it.

  1. I don’t know what I don’t know. Personal and professional growth requires an open mind and a willingness to try new things. If you think you know it all, you close your mind to new things and therefore do not develop and grow.

Remember don’t try and take on too much as each will lose their effectiveness.