INsight/ Power In Three

Ubud, 10 May 2017 — There is power in three. Notice how this number turns up in the world around you? You can use it to select your priority actions.

This week I am coaching a group of managers who are enrolled in the leadership program offered by the International WaterCentre in Brisbane. As they show up for excellence by stretching themselves through a series of tough challenges, one key for success is becoming clear. 

The leaders discover how to focus on a few actions to take, each day and each week, and to select those actions with an expanded personal and situational awareness that they develop in the program. They build a habit of taking three well-selected actions, time after time.

There is power in three. Notice how this number turns up in the world around you, and how leaders use it? Many religions are based on trinities. And public relations and marketing experts know that people often forget messages that have more than three points.

Learning leadership can feel like standing in front of a rich buffet of food. The amount of information available can easily overwhelm you into inaction, just like eating too much food can give you indigestion and force you to take a rest.

Like the food and exercise choices you make when you embrace a healthy lifestyle, less is often more, and what matters is to develop strong habits. Doing moderate exercise several times a week is better than over-exerting yourself once a week, the doctors will tell you.

In their 2016 book Learning Leadership, transformational leadership gurus Kouzes and Posner clarify that everyone is born with the ability to learn leadership and that many people have already started their leadership journey.

The important question, asked by Kouzes and Posner, is not if you are leading or not, but if you are leading frequently enough to make a difference. If the frequency of leading is what counts, then you better get into the habit of taking a few actions often.

To become an effective leader, every day, and every week, you can simply focus on taking three actions, and then another three, and so on.

You are already leading, just not frequently enough.
— Kouzes and Posner in Learning Leadership