Usually, when a company identifies an initiative, it’s clear what needs to be accomplished. Team members then dive into the implementing tactics, measuring progress along the way. Ideally, the project gets completed on time, and on budget. So should we consider that success? The better question is, did we get the most out of the initiative itself?
Take, for example, developing a content marketing campaign. A traditional program may include the identification of topics, developing an editorial calendar, creating and proofing content, distribution, and measuring engagement. However, the time, effort, and resources your team needs to put in to make all of that happen should be capitalized on. This is where the rule of three comes in.
When you launch an initiative, the goal shouldn’t simply be a single objective. Contrary to common thought, there should be three goals. In our example, the content may be created and distributed through a variety of digital channels. However, it is important to ask how else the content could and should be utilized. This could range from extracting snippets for Twitter posts to converting into a podcast. The goal is to ensure any initiative your team undertakes, to achieve three distinctly value-added outcomes from it.
This approach applies to any endeavor, even if it’s not the case you’re producing something new, such as content. Take the installation of a new software platform. Getting it up and running might be goal one. But goal two might be the cleaning and auditing of the data that goes into the system. And goal three may be auditing and streamlining associated internal processes to maximize the effectiveness of the system. This allows you not only to get the most benefit out of your endeavor but also provides your team to leverage their time investment to solve and address multiple challenges.
The rule of three also enables you to reposition your project as an investment. Taking either of the examples above, you can more effectively articulate the impact of the project by stating your three goals, and how each works together (complement each other) to maximize the use of resources.
Every investment takes time. Time to implement, time to test, time to launch. As an organization, we often overlook this ‘investment’ and don’t examine how to capitalize on it. The bottom line is when you define any engagement with the rule of three, you can generate better outcomes, get a bigger bang for your buck, and make a bigger impact on your organization as a whole.
About the Author
Andrea Olson is a speaker, author, behavioral economics, and customer-centricity expert. As the CEO of Pragmadik, she helps organizations of all sizes, from small businesses to Fortune 500, and has served as an outside consultant for EY and McKinsey. Andrea is the author of The Customer Mission: Why it’s time to cut the $*&% and get back to the business of understanding customers and No Disruptions: The future for mid-market manufacturing.