Grammy Said Everything Comes in Threes

SwitchRecently we were discussing Chip and Dan Heath’s Switch: How to Change Things When Change is Hard. It’s a terrific book with some great insights into why rational arguments aren’t enough to get teams, families, businesses, or towns to go where they need to go. We don’t want to ruin the ending for you, but the Heath brothers break down the process into three critical components, all of which must be satisfied for the change to happen. Similarly, we’ve spoken many times with our clients about how, in order to adapt and grow, three parts of the organization must be modified: the strategy, the systems, and the structure. Product managers we know talk about successful products being dependent on people, products, and processes.

Why are these triumvirate models so logical, reasonable, and easy to understand? It’s because they’re all about metaphor. The best metaphor we know, came from a services marketing course Megann took at Queen’s University – it’s the three-legged stool. Whether your stool consists of a rider, and elephant and a path like the Heath brothers’ book, or whether it’s the triple-s organizational change model, or even the three p’s…people can easily grasp the idea that if you’re sitting on a three-legged stool, and one leg is broken, things aren’t going to turn out nicely.

So the next time you’re trying to make a change in your people, process, or product, we recommend you figure out what the three legs are, and make sure they’re all working in tandem.

Three-legged racing toward the finish line,

Megann and Steve



Make better decisions, get better results, grow your business. We use a deep toolkit of specialized techniques help clarify your objectives, identify decisions that must be made, and eliminate knowledge gaps, resulting in strategy with a firmer foundation and better results.

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