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Number 2 – 3 Word Theme (Five Zingers From 2012)

The Three Word Theme: Number 2 of the top 5 blog post from David Zinger in 2012

History of the 3-word theme. I first heard of the 3 word theme from Chris Brogan. I have been using a 3-word theme for my work for four years and will be entering year five this month.  Previous themes were:

  1. In 2009 my theme was: authentic, connect, engage
  2. In 2010 my theme was: engage, mobilize, produce.
  3. In 2011 my theme was: engage, educate, enliven.
  4. In 2012 my theme was: stop, focus, and finish.

Benefits of a 3 word themeA three word theme is succinct and 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.

2012/2013  3-Word Theme. My new 3-word working theme is: discern, invite, and engage. These 3 words will govern my work from September 1, 2012 to August 31, 2013.

Discern. This word will guide me to distinguish what is important from what is unimportant. I will exercise more judgement with my social media time. I will ensure I know my audiences better for presentations. I will look at all the information I encounter with much more discernment. Overall, I look forward to being more discerning in the coming year.

Invite. I don’t impose, I invite. I don’t like being told what to do but I am always open to an invitation. I will ensure that I extend more invitations during 2012/13. I will invite my audiences to take action. I will invite my readers to engage with me and take action. I will invite new clients to engage with me and invite old clients to re-engage. I love the idea of inviting and inviting more into my life with full discernment.

Engage. Engagement is a noun while engage is a verb. This will be the fourth year out of five that engage has been one of my key 3 words. My close alliance with engage is what sustains me in my work in employee engagement, engaging management, and engaged leadership. I love the final word to start a rugby scrum, “engage.” Engage is a word that strongly invites both connection and action.

DIE? You may have noticed that this year’s 3-word theme create the acronym “DIE.” This is deliberate on my part. Embedded within discernment is to let unimportant projects and activities die – to separate the wheat from the chaff. Being more invitational in my work will require that I accept that many invitations will die or not be accepted. As powerful as engage is, we can only engage for so long without letting our engagement die to allow for change, rest, recovery, and rejuvenation.

Invitation. I invite you with a sense of discernment to engage in writing and acting on your own 3-word theme for work. Here are 9 steps to create and apply your own unique 3 word theme.

  1. Don’t hurry, don’t worry. Take time to mull over 3 words that are personally meaningful.
  2. The process of doing this may be of equal value to the outcome.
  3. View a number of other people’s 3-word themes by clicking here.
  4. Voice your intended 3-word theme to other people to get their impressions and input.
  5. Once you find the 3-words that fit for you for the year ahead declare them to both other people and yourself.
  6. Make an image for your theme to keep it in focus for the year ahead.
  7. Leverage the 3-words to contemplate more focused and productive work.
  8. Apply the 3-word theme as your internal work GPS.
  9. Use the 3-words to evaluate your work.
David Zinger is an work engagement expert who will be operating with a full sense of discernment, invitation, and engagement for the coming year. To access his services and workshops email him at