Have you ever wondered why the number 3 is so magical?
I am not talking about magical in terms of its unnatural abilities. I am talking about the importance of the Rule of 3 from a business perspective, from marketing people to development geeks. For example:
– in business overall, the Rule of 3 is a rule of thumb suggesting that there are always three major competitors in any free market situation;
– in computer programming, the Rule of 3 is a code refactoring rule of thumb to decide when a replicated piece of code should be replaced by a new procedure;
– in your brand communications, the Rule of 3 suggests the number of messages you should use, since your target market is most probably able to remember only 3 key things.
According to Carmine Gallo, a popular keynote speaker and bestselling author, Steve Jobs applied the Rule of 3 in every presentation and product launch he ever made. For example, when he first introduced the iPad, he told the audience it would come in three models. A year later, he introduced the second version as “thinner, lighter, and faster” – the three adjectives that soon after ended up in thousands of blogs and newspaper headlines.
The Rule of 3 is often used in diverse areas of life and business. It’s about time we bring it to team leadership and team collaboration. Here’s how…
As a team leader, you are overwhelmed with the amount of information coming from each and every individual team member. Furthermore, as all human beings have their unique ways to communicate and transfer knowledge, it’s challenging to spot the most valuable piece of information. What might seem like a crucial detail to one, might not be worth a lot to the other.
That’s exactly where the power of three P-s, also known as the PPP process, comes to rescue. PPP is a management technique for a recurring status reporting. One of the hidden gems in these reports is that they communicate three essential things any leader needs to know about their team:
This method is used in various companies, perhaps the most famous of which are Skype and eBay. But how exactly have they managed to put this process into action?
On a weekly basis, they ask their employees to answer three simple, yet powerful questions:
1. What have you achieved this week?
This communicates the progress of the employees. The emphasis is not on the quantity of finished tasks but the quality of them. By limiting the achievements to 3-4 key tasks, you are able to get a better overview of what people are working on. It’s also important to make your team reflect on what they have achieved, make them rethink their strategies and take a second to reevaluate what truly got done. Sometimes it’s amazing to see how the busiest people might just get the least done.
2. What are you going to do next?
This reflects the plans part of the PPP process. This indicates what your employees are going to do next and whether they are moving in the desired direction. Are they able to prioritize their tasks and truly get the items done during the specified period. This is the perfect time to gain insight into everyone’s plans and jump in if someone is about to derail.
3. What kind of challenges are you facing?
This communicates the difficulties your team is currently facing. In an open and trustworthy atmosphere, this question generates a tremendous amount of value. It helps you avoid future disasters and take action when someone needs assistance.
Implementing this PPP process in your team on a regular basis is easy. There are three ways to make it work. You can ask these questions via e-mail, use spreadsheets or try online reporting software platforms. Whichever channel you choose, it’s important to be persistent in your efforts. No matter how easy a process or a method is, it still requires some time to get used to. So, take time, communicate expectations to your team and ask for their input. The PPP process works best when the whole team is on board and ready to start collaborating in an efficient way.
– Külli Koort is the marketing director of Weekdone, a start-up that provides an employee status reporting tool based on popular management methods like PPP and OKR. You can connect with her and the Weekdone team on Twitter, Facebook and Google+.