16 January 2024

The Three Laws of Performance: Redefining the Future of Your Organization and Your Life

By Ronald Smith

When it comes to leadership, small business owners agree that times have changed.

Whenever I gather with fellow business people, it’s evident that we’re lacking inspiring leaders in all areas of life.

But I won’t join in on that conversation. Criticizing and complaining about the state of business or leadership is easy. What’s truly challenging is understanding and embodying leadership qualities to make a real impact.

That’s where my latest read comes into play.

The Three Laws of Performance: Rewriting the Future of Your Organization and Your Life is not your ordinary business book. It tells the inspiring stories of everyday leaders facing extraordinary challenges and making remarkable transformations that not only impact their organizations but also change lives.

Who is this Book For – and Who is it Not For?

Let me be honest with you. This is not a light read.

If you’re a self-improvement enthusiast, someone who enjoys delving into the intricacies of the human mind and how it influences our thoughts and actions, then I guarantee you will be captivated by this book.

If you think in a more traditional way, you’ll experience this book in a different way. Some of the language might seem philosophical and maybe even annoying, but the practical application of the ideas is valuable. I have to admit that I had to read and reread some of the descriptions a few times to understand them.

What You Should Know About the Authors

This book is written by Steve Zaffron and Dave Logan. Zaffron is known as the Zen master in a business suit and Logan is called Dr. Phil to the Fortune 500. So, you can expect these guys to have a unique approach to solving corporate problems.

When it comes to leadership, Zaffron and Logan have a unique way of doing things. They like to shake things up and dive deep into conversations, looking beyond just the surface level. They believe in uncovering the truth, even if it means addressing difficult issues. Their approach involves going into organizations and helping people to see the elephant in the room. And once they’ve identified the elephant, they work with everyone to understand its significance and find ways to address it. The end goal is to make the elephant disappear and create a future that is even better and more inspiring than anyone could have imagined.

Now, you might be wondering, what are the Three Laws of Performance?

  1. How we perform is connected to how situations appear to us. Another way to explain this is by saying, There’s what happens and how we interpret it. It’s not the events themselves that make us upset – it’s how we perceive them and the judgments we make. It’s the conversations we have in our minds about what it all means. For instance, imagine you’re in a room and someone gets up, leaves, and slams the door. You might assume they’re angry. What occurred? They left the room and the door slammed shut. But what you interpreted it as? Anger. However, it’s important to recognize that you could be mistaken. And that’s when problems arise in communication and understanding, which even skilled leaders can’t solve unless they know how to handle it.
  2. The Power of Language in Shaping our World

Let’s dive into the fascinating idea of how a situation comes to be, how it emerges in the words we use. To better understand this concept, I’ll share a story from Helen Keller’s book. Helen vividly describes her early days, when she couldn’t comprehend the emotions that made her cry or express herself. But once she learned to communicate, a whole new reality unfolded before her eyes. It was as if the world itself transformed because she gained the ability to label and share her emotions.

  • Using future-based language changes how people perceive situations. This concept involves more than just describing what is currently happening – it’s about creating language that generates new possibilities and experiences. I’ve personally experienced the power of this approach. I recall a time when I engaged in strategic planning. Initially, we took the traditional route of identifying problems and searching for solutions. However, we then tried something different called Future Search. This process involved envisioning a new future and subsequently developing activities and strategies to bring that future to life. The underlying theory was that by creating a new future, some of the problems we face now may not even exist in that future scenario. Consequently, it became clear that it would be more productive to focus on creating the future rather than solely solving present-day problems.
  • Do you see what I mean? It’s pretty deep stuff. The reason this book is so useful and easy to read is because there are many real stories where Zaffron and Logan used these principles and made a big difference in people’s lives and futures.

    The Three Laws of Performance is a book you really need to read if you’re a CEO or if you manage teams of people in this economy. I recommend not just reading the book, but also sharing it with your management team and having conversations about some of the stories and case studies. See what kind of transformations you can create for your own future.

    About the Author: Ivana Taylor is the CEO of Third Force, a company that helps small businesses find and keep their ideal customers. She’s also the co-author of the book Excel for Marketing Managers and owns DIYMarketers, a website for people who market products themselves. Check out her blog, Strategy Stew.