Constant lateness, dropped balls, missed boats and deadlines. When this is the case in any given business, it leads to stress in more ways than one. So how many times should this go on before it absolutely must be addressed? When should you have that conversation? Well, ponder no longer because it turns out there is a rule – of sorts. Consultant, author and overall business guru, Peter Bregman believes in the rule of three. After three incidences of a worrisome issue, it must be addressed. Once could be an isolated incident, twice makes you wonder, and three times leaves you ready to scream. Bregman concedes that if you feel like addressing an issue after one incident, that’s fine – go ahead. But for those who want to be understanding but want to tackle a situation before it gets out of hand – three.
Of course, such a threedom rule also works when you might be the problem. Did you hear a client joking about your business practices? The quality of your work? Your tendency to absent-mindedness? Three times and then Bregman hopes you speak up and try to figure out if the client is trying to tell you something. As they say, humor wouldn’t be so humorous if it didn’t contain elements of truth. In Bregman’s words, “The first time someone does something that makes me feel uncomfortable, I notice it. The second time, I acknowledge that the first time was not an isolated event or an accident but a potential pattern and I begin to observe more closely and plan my response. The third time? The third time I always speak to the person about it. I call it my rule of three.”
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