The Three-Step Strategy for Enhanced Communication

A Revolutionary Approach to Improving Your Communication Skills

In our fast-paced world, where every interaction can significantly affect our personal and professional lives, mastering effective communication is more crucial than ever. To achieve our communicative objectives, it is essential to deliver our messages in a straightforward, brief, and logical way.

In this article, I’ll introduce a three-question method that proves to be an invaluable asset in various scenarios, ranging from spontaneous conversations to critical business meetings. But before delving into this method, it’s important to understand why a structured approach is advantageous.

The Importance of Structure in Communication Structure in communication acts like a roadmap, connecting ideas logically and guiding both the speaker and the listener. Imagine it as a meticulously plotted story or a meticulously formulated recipe. The advantages of employing a structured approach include:

Clearness: Structure removes uncertainty, ensuring your message is easy to comprehend and follow. Memory: Structurally organized ideas tend to stick in our minds, enhancing the impact of your communication. Convincing Power: A logical structure incrementally builds your argument, persuading your audience through reasoned discussion. Time-saving: A structured approach condenses complex ideas into clear, actionable points, saving time and mental effort. Anxiety Reduction: A preset structure can greatly reduce communication anxiety, providing a clear guide on what to say and reducing the chance of forgetting your points. The “What, Why, Next Steps” Method This method is akin to a Swiss Army Knife in its adaptability and reliability, suitable for a wide range of communication situations. It consists of three straightforward questions:

What: Define and describe the facts, situation, product, stance, etc. Why: Explain the implications or significance for the audience. Next Steps: Suggest actions to take, like fielding questions or arranging a follow-up meeting. This method not only aids in organizing your thoughts but also helps your audience understand and remember the information.

Examples of the Method in Use Here’s how you can apply this structure in different situations:

  1. Making Introductions Using this method, introductions become more concise and effective.

To introduce a person:

What: I’m pleased to present Dr. Clark, who will share her insights on attachment theory. Why: Her research has significantly influenced everyday decision-making. Next Steps: Let’s warmly welcome Dr. Clark. For introducing a product:

What: I’m thrilled to unveil the latest update of our software, featuring significant usability enhancements. Why: This update enables our clients to work more efficiently, saving time and resources. Next Steps: I encourage you to download the new version after this session.

  1. Responding to Questions This structure is particularly useful in scenarios like job interviews. For instance:

What: My 12-year experience in customer engagement includes tackling challenges like system migrations. Why: My background will ensure high-quality outcomes for your customers and streamline your processes. Next Steps: Feel free to contact my previous clients for further discussion.

  1. Offering Feedback When providing constructive feedback, this method is especially helpful:

What: Your report was submitted past the agreed deadline. Why: This delay affects our preparation for the client meeting. Next Steps: Please complete the report by tomorrow morning, and let me know how I can assist. In summary, mastering structured communication enables you to effectively construct your messages and prioritize your communication goals. The “What, Why, Next Steps” method is a powerful tool for ensuring your message is not only heard but also understood and acted upon.

A Key Yet Often Overlooked Leadership Practice Essential for Success: Cultivating Gratitude

It’s a common sentiment that no one appreciates their hard work and achievements being overlooked by superiors and colleagues. Recognition for one’s efforts is a basic human desire, and often, a mere ‘thank you’ is sufficient. Experts in psychology highlight the importance of gratitude, stating that it is a crucial component for maintaining healthy relationships in all aspects of life, including in organizations, families, and broader societies.

Research indicates that gratitude positively affects our nervous system, reducing stress-related hormones and increasing hormones associated with happiness and well-being. This not only benefits individual health but also enhances cognitive functions related to learning and decision-making, an aspect any leader would value in their team.

The Corporate Value of Gratitude Implementing an employee recognition program is an effective way to foster a culture of gratitude within an organization. The rationale for this extends to business benefits as well.

Studies have found that regular expressions of appreciation and acknowledgment can be more motivating than financial rewards. Surveys indicate that a significant majority of employees are more willing to put in extra effort if their work is recognized and valued by their superiors.

Gratitude as a Leadership Technique It’s important to understand that effective gratitude and recognition go beyond public acknowledgments. Overdoing superficial praise can be counterproductive, making it seem insincere or setting unrealistic expectations for constant positive feedback for basic job duties.

Experts suggest that meaningful recognition can involve providing opportunities that signal career advancement, such as participation in significant projects or meetings. This approach is effective when it is perceived as a sign of potential career progression.

Strategies for Expressing Gratitude Despite its importance, the act of recognizing others is often undervalued by leaders. Engaging with team members informally and proactively, asking questions about their recent experiences or challenges, and offering support, shows genuine care and commitment to their success.

The most profound form of recognition, according to leadership experts, is trust. When there is mutual trust between leaders and their teams, it leads to significant increases in productivity and engagement.

Employee engagement is not to be taken lightly, as it plays a crucial role in organizational success. Data from extensive employee surveys show that companies with higher levels of employee engagement tend to have better overall performance. Units with high engagement scores are significantly more successful than those with lower scores.

Leaders should also recognize the importance of providing adequate worker protections and benefits. Allowing employees time off for personal and family needs, particularly during holiday seasons, is an impactful way to demonstrate appreciation and gratitude for their dedication and hard work.

Cultivating a Performance Culture in High-Growth Companies: Key Steps and Strategie

In dynamic, rapidly expanding businesses, executives are invariably concentrated on performance. Achieving financial targets often leads to a collective celebration, acknowledging the hard work and success. However, these triumphs are frequently a blend of chaos, luck, sleepless nights, and sometimes, a problematic culture, more than we’re willing to acknowledge.

The critical question for organizations is whether their successful performance is sustainable – not just in the immediate future or in a flourishing economy, but also during tougher times. Struggling companies need to evaluate their performance impediments and whether they’re capitalizing on their strengths.

Drawing from my experience in leading transformative changes in various high-growth companies, I’ve realized a vital lesson. To transition from occasional success to consistently high performance, embedding a performance-centric approach into the company’s core is essential. This integration is not just important; it’s imperative, and the sooner it begins, the better.

Here are four key steps to establish a robust performance framework:

  1. Prioritize Performance as a Key Initiative: Performance in an organization should be more than a collective effort of executives; it should be a deliberate, cross-functional initiative. This involves examining every aspect of the organization – from mindset and processes to communication and metrics – and integrating performance focus into the company’s infrastructure. This requires a detailed strategy, a work plan with milestones, defined roles and responsibilities, and accountability. Without this, a company may aim for performance but won’t cultivate a culture of performance.
  2. Designate a Performance Leader: For any company-wide initiative, a dedicated leader is crucial. This individual should be tasked with fostering a comprehensive performance culture, deeply embedded in the company’s operational principles. Often, this role is confined to certain departments, like finance or human resources, which limits its overall impact. The goal is to view people and performance through a unified perspective across the company. While not every company has a formal ‘chief performance officer,’ someone must effectively assume this role. It’s also important to assess and realign leadership roles to ensure they match the company’s growth phase.
  3. Unify the Executive Team Around the Goal: The entire executive team must understand and commit to the organization’s core philosophy and values, playing their part in building a performance-driven organization. This goes beyond informal support; I advocate for what I call ‘executive partnership agreements.’ These agreements outline decision-making processes, treatment of employees, operating styles, boundaries, feedback mechanisms, and conflict resolution methods. This not only builds trust among executives but also provides a structured approach to managing disagreements.
  4. Develop a Comprehensive Infrastructure Plan: Implementing a performance-focused approach requires integration into every aspect of the organization. This includes scrutinizing the entire product, marketing, and employee life cycles, ensuring consistent engagement and treatment of people at all stages. It’s about being tactical and identifying necessary changes. For instance, Valimail’s transformation involved a new company dashboard to flag performance issues early, a performance management system rewarding both outcomes and work methods, and restructured project teams based on strengths rather than hierarchy.

By treating performance as a strategic program rather than a mere aspiration, companies can unlock hidden financial potential and recapture market share lost to competitors. This approach fosters sustainable growth. Most importantly, with clear executive leadership and focus, performance is no longer left to chance but becomes a deliberate, integral part of the organization’s journey to success.

Navigating Workplace Dynamics: Are You Unwittingly Annoying Your Colleagues?

Reflecting on Your Role in Workplace Harmony: Unintentional Behaviors That May Be Straining Colleague Relationships

Introduction: In our discussions at Fast Company, we often explore the challenges posed by difficult colleagues and demanding bosses. However, it’s worth pondering whether sometimes, we might be the ones causing friction in the workplace.

Self-Reflection on Communication Styles: Recently, I’ve been contemplating the impact of my communication style, particularly after reading about how different generations interpret emojis. This led me to question whether my frequent thumbs-up emojis in Slack might be perceived differently than intended, despite my genuine intentions.

Similarly, my tendency to interject in discussions, driven by enthusiasm and a desire to contribute, made me wonder if it’s perceived as intrusive or overbearing by my colleagues.

Guidance for Self-Awareness in the Workplace: If you’re concerned about your impact on your colleagues, here are some behaviors to consider and possibly adjust. Being mindful of these can enhance your workplace interactions and relationships.

Minimizing Jargon and Buzzwords: Workplace jargon, though common, can be alienating and is often viewed negatively. Phrases like “circle back” or “synergize” can be off-putting. A good practice is to review your written communications for jargon and replace them with clearer, more direct language.

Mindful Communication: While contributing to discussions is important, it’s equally crucial to ensure that your interjections are constructive and respectful. If you find yourself frequently interrupting or dominating conversations, try to practice active listening and allow conversations to flow more organically.

In virtual meetings, using structured communication methods, such as the “raise hand” feature, can help maintain order and ensure everyone has a chance to speak.

Balancing Confidence with Approachability: Confidence in your abilities is a strength, but it’s important to differentiate it from arrogance. Embrace humility, acknowledge that you don’t have all the answers, and be open to learning from others. Additionally, while sharing and venting with colleagues can be beneficial, be cautious of crossing into negative territory with excessive complaining or gossip.

Embracing Emotional Intelligence: Developing emotional intelligence is key to understanding and managing your impact on others. This includes being aware of your tone, body language, and the words you choose. It’s also about recognizing and respecting the emotions and boundaries of your colleagues.

Conclusion: The journey to self-improvement in the workplace starts with self-awareness. By reflecting on and adjusting your behaviors, you can contribute to a more harmonious and productive work environment. Remember, small changes in your approach can make a significant difference in how you’re perceived and how effectively you collaborate with your team.

Four Strategies for Building Entrepreneurial Resilience

Embracing Change: The Entrepreneur’s Constant In the world of business, the only constant is change itself. As an entrepreneur, embracing and adapting to this reality is crucial. Many business owners might think that overcoming one challenge means they can relax, but new challenges are always on the horizon. The key to success lies in recognizing that difficulties will emerge and having confidence in your ability to handle them effectively.

Learning Through Uncertainty: A Decade of Entrepreneurial Insights Over the past ten years, I’ve navigated through various periods of uncertainty, including major events like the global pandemic, the rise of artificial intelligence (AI), and economic recessions, as well as shorter-term fluctuations like last summer’s spike in advertising costs. These experiences taught me the importance of cultivating deep self-trust and adaptability, essential for long-term business survival.

Four Methods to Foster Resilience:

  1. Developing a Problem-Solving Mindset Many business owners panic when faced with industry challenges or disruptive trends. My approach has always been to maintain a problem-solving mindset. For instance, the advent of AI tools like ChatGPT posed a challenge, but instead of fleeing, I taught my students how to leverage these tools to enhance their work.
  2. Diversifying Income Streams Entrepreneurship can offer more security than a traditional salaried job. Diversifying your income through complementary products or services can stabilize your overall earnings. In my business, I balance a high-ticket, one-time offer with a lower-cost monthly subscription, ensuring a steady income flow.
  3. Maintaining Financial Health I advocate for reinvesting in your business and prioritize financial health, savings, and awareness. For example, the recent increase in advertising costs brought some uncertainty to my business. However, having savings and a safety net allowed me to navigate this period smoothly.
  4. Adaptability is Key Adjusting your business model or strategy in response to unexpected challenges or market shifts is crucial. During the 2020 pandemic and economic recession, I taught my students the art of adaptation and pivoting in line with market changes.

Cultivating Mindset and Business Resilience As an entrepreneur, accepting that challenges are part of the journey and continually pushing beyond your comfort zone is essential. Each new level brings its own set of challenges, but that’s what makes the journey exciting. These challenges are opportunities for personal growth and learning, motivating you to pursue your goals. Remember to focus your energy on aspects of your business and life within your control and let go of those that aren’t.

Navigating Career Shifts Without Prior Industry Experience

In the dynamic landscape of the American workforce, where 3 to 4.5 million employees resign each month, adapting to change has become a necessity. The reasons for such a significant number of job transitions are as varied as the individuals themselves, ranging from the pursuit of better compensation and benefits to the desire for a fresh professional challenge.

The notion that one must remain within a single industry is becoming obsolete. Skills are increasingly seen as transferable, and employers are on the lookout for fresh talent and the unique perspectives they bring. This influx of new ideas can be a boon for both the employee and the company, offering a chance to inject innovation and drive progress.

Organizations are re-evaluating their workforce, often opting for a leaner, more dynamic team. In this environment, job seekers who can offer a new outlook paired with a proven ability to deliver results are in a prime position.

Professional capabilities, particularly at the executive level, are not confined to any one industry. Leadership philosophies, trend analysis, and project management are just a few examples of skills that can be applied universally. While industry-specific knowledge is beneficial, the core competencies required for success are largely the same across different fields.

A career change, rather than being seen as a risk, is increasingly viewed as a strategic move. It can lead to a wealth of opportunities and personal growth, breaking the mold of a career confined to a single industry. A diverse professional background can be an asset, demonstrating adaptability and the ability to apply one’s expertise in various contexts.

For those contemplating a shift in their career path, consider these tactics:

  • Preparation is key: Reflect on how your existing skills could be relevant in a new industry. Areas like marketing, sales, and communications are universal across sectors.
  • Conduct thorough research: Look into industries that are currently expanding and get to know the major players. Leverage your network for insights into different sectors or companies.
  • Clarify your priorities: Determine what you value most in a job, such as benefits, culture, and work environment. This will guide you in finding a role that aligns with your needs.
  • Articulate your reasons: Be ready to discuss your career transition in interviews. Approach any questions about your change with honesty and confidence.

Embracing a new career opportunity with the right preparation can lead to mutual success for both you and your future employer, charting a path forward in an ever-evolving job market.

Embracing the Future: The Rise of the Flux Mindset in Modern Careers

In an era marked by rapid technological advancements and unpredictable shifts in the global landscape, traditional career trajectories are undergoing significant transformations. The once-linear path from education to retirement is becoming increasingly dynamic, requiring individuals to be more adaptable and resilient. Central to this adaptability is the “Flux Mindset.”

What is the Flux Mindset?

The Flux Mindset is more than just being open to change; it’s about actively embracing it, seeking it out, and leveraging it for personal and professional growth. It’s a mental framework characterized by:

  1. Embracing Uncertainty: Recognizing that the only constant in life is change. Instead of fearing the unknown, individuals with a Flux Mindset see uncertainty as a realm of possibilities, waiting to be explored.
  2. Continuous Adaptation: The world won’t wait for us to catch up. Continuous learning and skill acquisition are paramount. This means regularly updating one’s skills, knowledge, and even perspectives to stay relevant.
  3. Resilience in the Face of Adversity: Challenges are inevitable, but they’re also opportunities in disguise. A Flux Mindset encourages individuals to bounce back from setbacks, learn from failures, and use them as stepping stones to success.
  4. Proactive Evolution: Instead of waiting for change to happen, those with a Flux Mindset are proactive. They seek out new experiences, challenge their own beliefs, and are always on the lookout for growth opportunities.

Why is it Important?

The rise of generative AI, automation, and other technological advancements have brought about concerns regarding job security and the future of various professions. In such a landscape, a static mindset can be limiting. The Flux Mindset, on the other hand, prepares individuals for an ever-evolving world, ensuring they remain valuable and relevant.

Moreover, organizations can benefit immensely from fostering a Flux Mindset among their employees. It promotes innovation, encourages a culture of continuous learning, and helps businesses stay ahead of the curve.


As the world continues to change at an unprecedented pace, the traditional notions of careers and success are being challenged. The Flux Mindset offers a way forward, ensuring that individuals not only survive but thrive in this new era. By adopting this mindset, we can turn challenges into opportunities, uncertainties into adventures, and pave the way for a fulfilling and successful future.

The Art of Career Transition: Finding Strength in Uncertainty

In today’s rapidly changing world, career transitions have become a regular part of many people’s lives. From the swift advancements in technology to the rise of artificial intelligence, the workplace is undergoing unprecedented transformations, requiring individuals to continually reinvent their career paths. However, despite the growing demand for transitions, many find the process fraught with challenges and uncertainties.

Firstly, it’s vital to recognize that a career transition is not merely a physical change, such as switching jobs or acquiring new skills. It’s a profound internal process that involves reevaluating one’s identity, values, and professional objectives. This shift often comes with emotional fluctuations, from excitement and hope to fear and doubt, all of which are normal reactions as we’re not just altering what we do but who we are.

Secondly, the non-linear nature of modern careers means we can expect to undergo several transitions, rather than a one-time “big leap.” This continuous evolution requires adaptability, flexibility, and a commitment to lifelong learning. We must be willing to step outside our comfort zones, and explore unknown territories, while also accepting that failures and setbacks are part of growth.

However, successful career transitions also demand a strategic approach. This means consciously assessing our long-term goals, market trends, and personal interests. Establishing a robust support network, including mentors, peers, and family, is crucial as they can provide valuable feedback, encouragement, and diverse perspectives. Equally important is practicing self-care to ensure our physical, mental, and emotional well-being, enabling us to cope with the stresses and uncertainties of the transition process.

Ultimately, career transition is a journey of discovery, innovation, and self-realization. While it may be laden with challenges, it also presents individuals with valuable opportunities for growth, learning, and transformation. By embracing the uncertainties of this process and finding strength and purpose within it, we can not only successfully navigate our career paths but also achieve a more fulfilling and meaningful life.

The Dual Pathways of Excellence: Navigating Between Performance and Learning Zones

In the contemporary professional landscape, a phenomenon has stealthily undermined team productivity and individual satisfaction — the imbalance between two critical forms of effort: the drive to execute and the quest to evolve. This imbalance, often unnoticed, festers within organizational cultures, breeding a work environment marked by exhaustive exertion yet puzzling stagnation. However, the remedy lies not in the sheer volume of hours worked but in a nuanced reconfiguration of how we perceive and engage with work.

The Performance Zone Mirage

From the early stages of our education and career, we’re indoctrinated with the ethos of hard work. The professional world idolizes the relentless achiever, who surmounts obstacles through sheer will and indefatigable effort. This archetype forms the backbone of what we term the “performance zone” — a sphere dominated by the immediate execution of tasks, where success is measured by the checklist of daily accomplishments.

However, an overemphasis on the performance zone comes at a steep price. Teams trapped in this cycle equate productivity with long hours and an ever-expanding roster of tasks. The tunnel vision inherent in this approach obscures the bigger picture, neglecting the need for adaptation and growth in a rapidly evolving marketplace. The result? A paradox of overwork and underperformance, where more hours and resources fail to yield proportional returns.

Embracing the Learning Zone

Contrasting the performance zone is the less-trodden path of the “learning zone.” This realm acknowledges the limitations of existing competencies and embraces the discomfort of growth. It’s a space where mistakes aren’t failures but learning opportunities, where the status quo can always be questioned, and where the pursuit of knowledge reigns supreme.

Integrating the learning zone into the workplace doesn’t necessitate a diminution in performing tasks. Instead, it advocates for a more mindful approach — one where tasks are not just completed, but engaged with in a manner that enhances skills and expands understanding. This dual pathway approach ensures that teams don’t just work hard; they work smart.

Strategies for Harmonizing Performance and Learning

Marrying the worlds of performance and learning requires deliberate effort and strategic planning. Here are expanded strategies for leaders seeking to foster an environment where these dual forms of effort coexist:

  1. Cultivating a Learning-Focused Environment: Leaders must first establish a culture that values continuous improvement as much as task completion. This cultural shift begins with the language and narratives used within the organization, underscoring the importance of growth and learning. It extends to tangible practices, like setting aside time for skill development, encouraging cross-departmental knowledge exchange, and normalizing the deconstruction of failures to glean insights.
  2. Integrating Learning into Daily Operations: Embedding learning opportunities into everyday routines ensures that growth is not an afterthought, but a fundamental part of work. This integration can be as simple as tweaking meeting agendas to include knowledge-sharing segments, or as intricate as developing a mentorship program where employees can learn from each other’s expertise and experiences.
  3. Leading by Example: Leaders themselves must be visible learners. Transparency about their learning goals, active solicitation of feedback, and openness about their shortcomings encourage a culture of learning. When leaders are learners, they give tacit permission for their team to be learners too.
  4. Consistent Communication and Reinforcement: Changing the work culture isn’t a one-off event; it’s a journey. Regular reminders about the value of learning, recognition of those who exhibit learning behaviors, and narratives that include learning as a component of success are crucial. This consistent communication helps solidify the new norms.
  5. Periodic Reevaluation and Adaptation: Finally, the commitment to learning and performance must include a commitment to change. Regular reviews of team strategies, workflows, and outcomes, with an eye on improvement and efficiency, ensure that the approach evolves with changing circumstances.


In our quest for success, recognizing the dual nature of effort — performance and learning — is pivotal. While the performance zone keeps us anchored in the present, ensuring tasks are completed and goals are met, the learning zone is our compass for the future, guiding us toward growth and adaptation. In harmonizing these dual pathways, we unlock the fullest potential of teams and individuals, paving the way for a work culture that is not just productive, but also innovative, resilient, and fulfilling.

Fintech’s Influence in Strengthening the Backbone of Lesser-known Suppliers

In the vast landscape of global commerce, small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) often find themselves navigating a myriad of financial challenges. Historically, these enterprises, nestled deep within the supply chain, have been somewhat isolated from the financial support systems offered by large core companies such as Unilever, Siemens, and Dell. These core entities have traditionally extended financial tools like reverse factoring and dynamic discounting exclusively to their direct, first-tier suppliers. However, the emergence of innovative fintech platforms is revolutionizing this dynamic, bridging the gap between SMEs and their potential financiers.

The Historical Context

For decades, SMEs have been the unsung heroes of the global supply chain. They produce essential components, provide crucial services, and often operate in niche markets that larger companies overlook. Yet, despite their critical role, they’ve historically been at a disadvantage when it comes to accessing financing. Traditional financial institutions, with their stringent criteria and risk-averse nature, have often been reluctant to lend to these smaller entities. This has left many SMEs in a precarious position, especially when faced with cash flow challenges or unexpected expenses.

The Fintech Revolution

Enter fintech – the fusion of finance and technology. Over the past few years, fintech platforms have been disrupting traditional financial systems, offering innovative solutions tailored to the unique needs of various market segments. For SMEs, this has meant a new avenue to access financing.

These platforms leverage advanced algorithms, big data analytics, and blockchain technology to assess the creditworthiness of SMEs in real time. By analyzing various assets such as approved invoices, inventories, and purchase orders, they can provide instant financing options. This not only speeds up the financing process but also offers more favorable terms compared to traditional lenders.

Benefits to SMEs

  1. Enhanced Cash Flow Management: With instant access to funds, SMEs can better manage their cash flows, ensuring they can meet their operational expenses and invest in growth opportunities.
  2. Diversified Financing Options: Fintech platforms offer a range of financing solutions, from invoice factoring to supply chain financing, giving SMEs the flexibility to choose the best option for their needs.
  3. Reduced Dependency on Traditional Lenders: By diversifying their financing sources, SMEs can reduce their dependency on traditional banks, mitigating the risks associated with banking crises or changes in lending policies.

The Road Ahead

While fintech platforms have made significant strides in supporting SMEs, there’s still a long way to go. As these platforms continue to evolve, they must ensure they remain inclusive, catering to the diverse needs of SMEs across different sectors and regions. Additionally, as with all technological innovations, there’s a need for robust regulatory frameworks to ensure these platforms operate transparently and ethically.

In conclusion, the rise of fintech platforms represents a beacon of hope for SMEs. By bridging the financial gap, they not only empower these enterprises but also strengthen the global supply chain. As we move forward, it’s essential to continue supporting and innovating within this space, ensuring that SMEs, the backbone of our global economy, have the resources they need to thrive.