Book Review: The Three Laws of Performance

I received an email a few weeks ago asking if I would be interested in reviewing the new book from Steve Zaffron and Dave Logan titled “the three laws of performance”.   I jumped at the opportunity….free book right?

Well…I’d happily pay twice the list price for this book and so should you…but click over to amazon using the link below and you can get it for $18.45 (affiliate link).

The full title of the book is The Three Laws of Performance: Rewriting the Future of Your Organization and Your Life and it is called a ‘Warren Bennis‘ book…if you like Bennis, you’ll like this book too

The premise of the book is that there are three laws that will always affect performance…just like the law of gravity will always have an affect on you.

The three laws are:

  1. How people perform correlates to how situations occur to them
  2. How a situation occurs arises in languages
  3. Future based language transforms how situations occur to people

If you are like me, you’ll read those three laws and think “that seems a little too simple”….but they aren’t. Think about these laws for a few minutes and consider the following example:

You are tasked with implementing an enterprise resource planning system.  This ERP system will replace about ten other systems throughout the organizations.  These other systems are seen as ‘useful’ and the people that use them feel as though they own them…they’ve used these systems for years and have a lot of control over these systems.

The CIO has decided to replace the various systems with one ERP system.  She gets agreement from the leaders of the other departments but there is very little socialization of the idea with the actual users of the system.

You kick off the project and follow all the proper methodologies and processes and at first, the organization is lined up behind you.    Quickly though, you start running into problems.  People are resistant and don’t see the need to replace what they have.  The project falls behind and the ‘go-live’ date slips…and slips.  It doesn’t seem like you’ll ever get this project done.

Why does this happen?  Well…you could be a poor project manager…but hey…I’ll give you the benefit of the doubt 🙂 The project is failing because the people invovled don’t feel as they have any say in their own future.  the project was derived and driven from the top down with no input from the folks using the current systems.

If you don’t allow people to understand the reasons for things to occur by communicating in the proper language, your projects will fail.  You will always have people react to a situation in the way that makes sense to them….but it may not make sense to you.

The book does a much better job of explaining the three laws and how they can be used in your life. There are some excellent stories of people using the three laws and obtaining some amazing results.

While reading this book, I had an ‘ah-ha’ moment.  I always try to use ‘common sense’ to guide my decisions…but MY view of common sense is different than YOUR view.  You may have a common sense approach to something that makes absolutely no sense to me…and vice versa.

This is a great book…I think it is one of the best books I’ve read in the last few years.   Grab this book soon as you can and enjoy!

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  • Here here! You Rock!

    Dave Logan was a professor of mine at USC and still occasional offers me insight provided I offer him enough wine. He is one of the greatest guys you'll ever meet and you feel smarter just being around him. And know that I say that having never forgiven him for once comparing me to Dick Cheney.

    If you want to get a sense of what he's like, check him out doing battle with Stuart Varney: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yybxMVkTH2A

    You have a great review, that I'll forward on to him.

    Andy

  • Dave is a superior individual, as is Varney. That's what makes the whole thing so interesting. I only wish it had been you as opposed to a second rate individual like Varney. But I take some solace in the fact that you and Dave take the time to acknowledge the offerings I put forward. I am humbled by the acknowledgments that you both offer to others who offer far less.

    Wishing you all the best,

    Andy

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