“Why, The Rule of Three.”
When facing an impossible situation or when deprived of resources the Marine Corps motto is, “Improvise – adapt – overcome.”
The United States Marine Corp believes strongly in what they call “The Rule of Three.” They’ve found that implementing this rule saves lives, gets more done faster and more efficiently.
An article on The Corp in INC. magazine says, “The rule dictates that a person should limit his or her attention to three tasks or goals. When applied to strategizing, the rule prescribes boiling a world of infinite possibilities down to three alternative courses of action. Anything more and a marine can become overextended and confused. The marines experimented with a rule of four and found that effectiveness plummeted.”
Three is a powerful number. We find it in some very significant places. The most powerful physical structure is a triangle or pyramid. In fact, it’s the building block of Buckminster Fuller’s geodesic domes and the Great Pyramids of Egypt. In the Bible, it’s the Trinity: Father, Son and Holy Spirit. And then, of course, we have Mind, Body, Spirit.
“There is nothing more important to the life blood of business then these three actions: Get Customers, Keep Customers, Make Money. This is what we call ‘Prime Directive’; it’s the prime #1 mandate, top-of-the-mind focus, and the guidance that drives every decision for every manager, leader, employee, stakeholder, director. For anyone who has skin-in-the-game in the business, the Prime Directives are, not because we say they are, but because they are the most elemental building blocks of business success, beyond which ‘everything else’ is merely interesting details… Notice that the Prime Directives are comprised of 3-powerful verbs– action words in the broadest sense of the meaning. Say this words often: Get, Keep, Make; Get, Keep, Make; Get, Keep, Make… Repeat them often; but most important– ‘do what the words say’ for building-sustaining a successful business…” (Eric Wright – Three Golden Rules Of Business)
The Rule of Three is a simple, easy-to-use, universal truth. It gives business more impact, makes marketing more effective, advertising more persuasive. We’re all aware, at least intuitively, of the power of three: A string of three words, things, ideas, pop-up all the time in literature, expressions, storytelling.
“The Rule of Three is a principle that suggests that things that come in ‘three’ are inherently– funnier, more satisfying, more effective… than other numbers of things.” – Wikipedia;
“To produce the most positive impression of a product, service… use the ‘charm of three’ to minimize skepticism, maximize positive impression… when selling list only three positive claims.” – Kurt A. Carlson
“The phrase– life, liberty, pursuit of happiness– is probably one the most well-crafted, influential phrases in the history of the English language… it was written by Thomas Jefferson who was a skilled writer– this famous phrase reflects a rhetorical technique that can be traced to ancient Greece– a figure of speech using three words to express one idea… The Rule of 3 is everywhere, for example; Steve Jobs applied the Rule of Three in nearly every presentation, product launch… Since it worked for Jefferson, it worked for Jobs… it can work for you– try it.” – Carmine Gallo
“The human view of the world is created by interpreting what happens to us through three elements: How we think, move, feel… Personal success is a result of properly using these three closely interrelated elements. What you think is a result of how you feel, and where you are. How you feel is a result of what you think, and what you’re doing. And what you do is a result of how you feel, and what you think. If any of these three elements isn’t right then look to change the other two. Once you get all three working together, your options are enormous… Just think about that for a while… It’s really that simple.” – Martin Gladwin
The Rule Of Three Sales Technique
“The Rule of Three can be used in a number of ways to make your sales technique more effective:
- Don’t baffle your customer with all the benefits of your product. Narrow it down to the top three benefits they would gain if they purchased your product/service.
- Give customers three reasons why they should buy your product/service.
- Outline three ways they can purchase your product/service.
You should also remember The Rule of Three when you are writing any marketing copy. Everyone knows that: ’A Mars a day, helps you work, rest and play!’”– Lukasz Kozlowski
The Rule Of Three-Person Decision Making
The three-person decision making rule is: If three people agree on a course of action the decision is considered made and the course of action implemented.
When there is an impasse: If two agree and one does not, no one persons decision can be overridden by the two other members of the triad unless a fourth person agrees with the other two. Then the three can override the one. However, if the fourth party does not agree with the two, then the decision proposed by the one stands.
How the Rule Of Three works for the individual in decision making.
Whenever you find yourself in a situation where there appears to be no easy solution, ask yourself these three questions: What are the consequences of my decision in 7 minutes,
in 7 months or in 7 years?
The answers will usually tell you what you need to know not only to take the most reasoned course of action, but also to explain your choice to your coworkers as well as to the family members and friends, or who will feel its impact.
As we become immersed in the ocean of information, possibilities, directions and the like, it becomes even more important for us to focus on the things that are truly important to us, the things that will make a difference in the quality of our business and our lives.
Three things can easily be remembered. Any more than that and retention suffers. We can all sharpen our focus and get better results by using the Rule of Three in business and in our personal lives.