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People, Change and the Power of 3

September 05, 2013

What if you could be ahead of the group by just using the power of 3?
What if 3 is the underlying rule for all of the changes you want to make?
One more – what could get unlocked for you if you understood how
you secretly score yourself when it comes to 3?  Can you tell I like 3’s?
You will too by the time you finish this blog, keep reading.

First a bit of background on the number.  Our brain has a number of
connections to the number of three. We use it in math, it’s the basis of
triangle, chord construction in music, and most importantly for this blog,
the basis for how we judge and remember performance.  Check out the
blog, Marketers Must Understand the Power of 3, for more information
on the above concepts.

Chunk brain theory indicates we can typically hold up to 6 or 7 items
in memory as part of a group.  But interestingly, when it comes to action,
we are a lot more comfortable identifying up to 3 things, not 6, that
we’re going to do next.  Beyond that we’re reaching.  Immediate action
plans work best when based on 3’s (with a clear what’s first).

If you flip that concept, you come face to face with the fact that you only
need to  focus on the next three things, in pretty much anything you do.
If you’ll not only identify, but do those three things, you are ahead of the norm.

So when it gets confusing, and there seem to be way to many demands or
options (our brain feels about the same stress with each).  Remember, you
just need to pick the top 3 and do those.  Once you’re done with the three,
do it again – e.g. pick the next three.

Got that, well here’s the interesting thing about how this ties into change.
First of all,  think of change as just being spaced repetitions.  And although
you may have heard that it takes 22 repetitions to create a new habit, guess what,
most of the time you just need to commit to three repetitions at a time to keep
change efforts moving ahead.  Isn’t that a relief?

Your brain, your motivation, your endurance… they all like things in 3.  So
work in 3s and don’t stress yourself.  Think of the next three steps, practice
in 3s, sign up or commit in groups of 3s.  See it feels easier already, right?

While you are noodling on the idea of 3s, let’s talk about 3 when it comes
to being really successful at getting results from others when you make
requests.  Here’s what commonly occurs when it comes to making
requests of others, especially at work:
1. Make request – no follow-up, hope/assume it got done
2. Make request – 1 follow-up, usually request is partially fulfilled, no
follow-up thereafter
3. Make request – 2 follow-ups, if request still isn’t done, frustration ensues,
requestor feels like they have to do it themselves
4. Make request – 3 follow-ups, where follow-ups are good for the requestor’s
peace of mind and are also framed as teach experiences – most people don’t do this.

Most people drop out of the process before making 3 follow-ups,
yet it is critical to getting stuff done through others.  Doing 3 follow-ups
without getting frustrated puts you at the top of the group of people who
are successful at getting things done through others.

But before I wrap up, let’s talk about scoring yourself.  See I think we all
carry around scorecards on our self in our head.  Sometimes to our own
detriment.  Here’s the thing to check out.  See if any of your conclusions
about not being successful at something, is actually something at which
you didn’t give a solid 3 attempts.

Check that out.  You may find the low scores you give yourself are:
a) a function of not trying 3 times
b) a function of not treating those follow-up experiences as opportunities
to learn, so you notice the progress, give yourself some recognition and
decide if you want to sign up for the next 3.  Focus on doing your 3s
and I bet your scores will improve.  See it’s simple.

Bottom Line:
I’m writing this blog to encourage you that most things you want to learn,
to accomplish, to achieve… break down into a series of 3 steps.  Thinking
in terms of 3s makes any goal or project easier to approach, and if you’ll
stay engaged through the three steps, you’ll find you will be much more
successful, not to mention better at getting the desired results with others.

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