I’ve had some responses from my editorial about the power of three in the Nov/Dec 2009 issue of ONLINE, but I thought posting it here might generate a few more responses.
Oh, and 3 words appropriate to the season: Happy New Year!
The Power of Three
When my son turned three, he became fascinated with all things three. “I’m thwee,” he’d say, not being terribly good at pronouncing the r. It’s a good thing he’d hold up three fingers, since it sounded like he was saying, “I’m free,” a rather curious statement from a young child. He also had 3 friends, 3 favorite games, 3 stuffed animals, and probably some threes he didn’t share with me.
This came to mind recently when Colin Beverage posted a challenge on a LinkedIn group—describe what you do in 3 words. Now I took Latin in secondary school. I know Gaul was divided into 3 parts. My Latin teacher declaimed, “Veni, Vidi, Vici” as she acted out the part of Julius Caesar (I came, I saw, I conquered, which is 6 words in English, but only 3 in Latin).
Some people, who answered Colin, took the Caesar approach, using three disparate words separated by commas. “Eat, sleep, drink” was the least professional. I said, “Think, research, write.” Others came up with “define, create, refine,” which sounds a bit shampooish (lather, rinse, repeat). “Converse, plan, deliver” caught my eye, as did “communicate, negotiate, collaborate.” Some of these phrases implied a process: First I think, then I research, finally I write. Others reflected three separate activities. If it was a solo librarian, I can imagine “research, collect, manage,” which could be in any order.
The non-Caesarian approach was to write a 3-word sentence that bordered on a tag line. David Gurteen, known for his Knowledge Cafes, said, “I have conversations.” An independent information professional expressed the essence of consulting when she said, “Informing client decisions.” The person who said “Fight the Hydra” may have been having a bad day. “Reduce legal risk” is an extraordinarily powerful 3-word statement. I’m hoping it was from a law librarian.
It’s a fun challenge and if you share your powerful three words with me, I’ll share them with other readers of ONLINE, attributed or not, your choice.