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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

Number 3 – Gamification and Employee Engagement (Five Zingers From 2012)

Number 3 of the top 5 blog posts from David Zinger 2012

A personal quest to improve work and well-being through the principles of engagement and gamification

Buzz for the 2012 Experiment. I have been playing with engagement, gamification, work, and well-being this year. I still have 3 months to go but I thought I would let readers know about the success I have been experiencing by creating a low tech game to increase my work accomplishment and enhance my overall well-being. Of course, given my love for the ways honeybees work it is based on the visual of honeycomb construction.

24 minute cells. One mechanism I am using to enhance my thinking, work, and well-being is to chunk my work or well-being periods into 24 minute cells. I find that I can sustain better engagement and thinking,  there is a quick end in sight, I gather energy by shifting to other tasks with the next 24 minutes, and I experience an engaging sense of progress. It is amazing what you can think of and accomplish in 24 minutes, and using multiple 24 minute blocks each day builds a strong sustained experience of accomplishment and progress.

I have gone game for better thinking, work, and well-being. I have made a game out of my work and well-being. Each 24 minute cell completed is worth 10 points. I work to achieve 400 points each  week. There are 100 bonus points available each week to turbocharge my work or well-being on challenging tasks. At the start of the day I determine my 3 daily goals and put the task I will work on in at least 6 cells. As each 24 minute period is completed I color the cell yellow for work and green for well-being.

Work and well-being ratios. My overall ratio of work to well-being is 2 cells of work for 1 cell of well-being from Monday to Friday. On the weekend I reverse this to 2 cells of well-being for 1 cell of work. The collected points at the end of specific period of time (often 2 or 3 months) is redeemed by me to make a charitable donation so that the game goes beyond myself and additional meaning is attached to the completion of each cell.

Game platform. The platform for the game is very simple, I use a PowerPoint slide for each day and I have a weekly slide to set goals for the week and monitor progress from the previous week. At the end of the year or early in 2013 I will offer greater detail on how to construct and play this game to enhance your work and well-being while also collecting points to trigger charitable donations.

Here is a screen shot of one slide from September 17, 2012:

David Zinger is a global employee engagement expert who applied principles of engagement and games to enhance his personal work and well-being.

Number 4 – Ten Stops for Employee Engagement (Five Zingers From 2012)

Number 4 of the top 5 blog posts for 2012 from David Zinger

Please come to a complete stop before proceeding…

  1. Stop waiting for a magic moment to engage.
  2. Stop mistaking engagement as someone else’s job or responsibility.
  3. Stop conceptualizing engagement as a problem to be solved.
  4. Stop searching for a stronger business case for engagement.
  5. Stop thinking of employee engagement as an extra.
  6. Stop believing you need more data to begin.
  7. Stop seeing the CEO or President as someone other than an employee.
  8. Stop wasting time formulating big programs and splashy launches.
  9. Stop extensive consulting with experts so that you have time to consult with employees.
  10. Stop trying and start doing.
David Zinger is a global employee engagement expert. Email him today at for speaking, education, or consulting services.