History of the 3-word theme. I first read about the 3 word theme from Chris Brogan. I have been using a 3-word theme for my work for six years and will be entering year seven in 10 days. Previous themes included:
- In 2009 my theme was: authentic, connect, engage
- In 2010 my theme was: engage, mobilize, produce.
- In 2011 my theme was: engage, educate, enliven.
- In 2012 my theme was: stop, focus, and finish.
- In 2012/2013 my theme was: discern, invite, engage
- In 2013/2014 my theme was spark, grow, write
Benefits of a 3 word theme. A three word theme is succinct, easy to remember and leverage as a tool for work. It offers a quick guide and evaluation for work completed. It is a nice reflection tool for work and progress. It is also a great planning tool to get a tighter focus on the year ahead while offering flexibility in how those 3 themes are actualized.
3-Word Theme for 2013/2014. My new 3-word working theme is: engage, engage, engage. I know, this is the same word used three times. In my mind, the repetition adds emphasis. Also, this is the last year I will construct a three word theme. After this year I will reduce and simplify to a one word theme. Engage, engage, engage will govern my work from September 1, 2014 to August 31, 2015.
Why I chose engage, engage, engage. I have spent the proverbial 10,000 hours towards expertise on engagement over the past 10 years. It has been my primary focus and frequently my exclusive focus over this time. I am much fonder of the word engage, a quick verb to initiate action, than the longer noun of engagement that seems more passive and removed. During the year ahead I plan to engage myself fully in my work, I want to help others engage fully in their work, and I want to expand the depth and breadth of engage in our workplaces and our wellbeing. Using just one word three times is easier to remember and provides a more succinct focus for my efforts. So engage along with me, the best is yet to be.
A sample of engage projects for 2014/2015
- I will engage fully in thousands of fifteen minute periods of work.
- I will be presenting in Singapore on employee engagement
- I will be speaking and conducting a Master Class on engagement in Dubai in December
- I am creating a virtual three week intensive course on engagement in conjunction with a university for February 2015
- I will continue to write about engagement at this site, further refining the term and practices.
- I am in the midst of writing a twelve part series on the Halogen blog on the wheel of engagement
- I plan to unite people in Manitoba interested in engagement/engage into a community of support and practice
- There will be many more projects, tasks, and endeavors that embrace the theme of engage.
How to Write Your Own Three Word Theme. I encourage you to compose and act on your own 3-word theme for work. Here are 9 steps to create and apply your own unique 3 word theme:
- Don’t hurry, don’t worry. Take time to mull over 3 words that are personally meaningful.
- The process of doing this may be of equal value to the outcome.
- View a number of other people’s 3-word themes by clicking here.
- Voice your intended 3-word theme to other people to get their impressions and input.
- Once you find the 3-words that fit for you for the year ahead declare them to both other people and yourself.
- Create an image for your theme to keep it in focus for the year ahead.
- Leverage the 3-words to contemplate more focused and productive work.
- Apply the 3-word theme as your internal work GPS.
- Use the 3-words to evaluate your work.