Image (c) Carl Nenzen Loven
What do you think of when you hear the phrase "The Rule of Three"? Almost every field or discipline has its own "Rule of Three": aviation, chemistry, computer programming, economics, math, statistics, even witchcraft! The most striking "rule of three" I have ever encountered is that of survival: the average person can live three minutes without air; three days without water; and three weeks without food.
Someone who knows a lot about survival is my friend "Spider " Marks. Properly treated like, Spider is a guard forester whose military career lasted 30 years duringof which he held all the positions of command, from the infantry platoon leader to the general commander. You may have seen him as a military analyst on CNN or at Georgetown University faculty.
In a recent conversation, Spider shared a different Rule of Three, a rule he created to ensure productive meetings with, as he described them, his " regularly distracted multitasking bosses ”. You may recognize these kinds of bosses, but keep in mind that Spider's bosses included presidents, cabinet members, and Joint Chiefs of Staff!
Here is Spider's rule of threes:
- Always have the three most important things you need close at hand. have to make decisions. With a busy boss, you never know when the opportunity will arise: walking down the hallway, in the elevator, on your way to the airport. The reresponsibility is yours to seize the moment. Yo You should be rehearsed well, but you want to appear relaxed and confident. Your boss may perceive your attempt to guide the conversation as an intellectual ambush, and it may be, but it is the best way to get what you need: quick decisions on matters. reviews.
- the boss 'attention within three seconds . Think of effective engagement with your boss as a "friendly" ambush. When you are ambushed, your body turns into a panic reaction: blood pressure rises, heart rate quickens, vision narrows, and defensive barriers rise. So make the opportunity count! You cradled your boss on his heels; she is vulnerable and she knows it; so don't let her down. Give a helping hand, show your vulnerability and your need for soundinput and wisdom from his experience. She will be happy to "save " you and get you what you need.
- Prepare to leave in three minutes . You have intentionally decided to interrupt your boss's day - or at least their train of thought. Maybe you will get the decisions that you are looking for, and if so, you will come away victorious. Otherwise, live to fight another day! If your foray doesn't get what you want, create a plan to re-engage. Remember the ethics of the warrior: never give up, never accept defeat.
I love Spider's rule of threes because it is fun and memorable. (In addition to his background, you can see his sense of humor in the above.) And his rule of three applies.It also works well for routine interactions with peers, colleagues, business partners or your team. This approach is a great way to ensure the right kind of focused conversation on the topics that matter most.
Military tactics don't always work in civilian situations, but you should try the Spider setting. Try thinking in threes to improve your focus and improve your priorities and execution. It will probably be more efficient and more pleasant than three minutes holding your breath