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3 Strike Rule, Contingency Planning, and Planned "Distractions"

Updated: Oct 11

Since my October blog will publish on 10/10, I thought I would give you a double dose and discuss my top 2 tools in one post. Especially since these tools go hand-in-hand.


Many of you who have read my book, The 110 Philosophy™ already know why these are so beneficial and are likely to be using these tools yourself. The 3 Strike Rule as well as the Contingency Planning and Planned "Distractions" tools are ones that I use ALL OF THE TIME.


The 3 strikes concept is super easy. The value is that it sets you up to take action while staying balanced and it makes you fair without having to second guess yourself. Most successful leaders are already on top of things and maybe you never let the ball drop, but sometimes when you’re managing people you need to give them time to learn. Let's say you have someone who has room for improvement or who has made a mistake, the first time we kind of let it slide but take note. At this point, don't over asses and get wrapped up in it. Allow the individual to have room to recognize and learn on their own. The second time is when you’re starting to think of a contingency plan - and what you will do after the 3rd strike. These simple steps help you not to over or under-react and it is MORE than a fair way to help manage a tough situation, delicate subjects, or performance issues with employees. This method can also help us in our own lives.


Let me reiterate:

  • 1st first time brings attention

  • 2nd time is the time for you to plan

  • 3rd time is the time to implement your plan from time #2

You don't have to overreact or let emotions come into play because you have already thought it through and also given the individual time to correct the issue on their own. Also, it helps you treat everyone in the same, fair manner. Sometimes you may even let it go 4 times, especially if it is a tough situation or if it has to deal with a sensitive topic such as appearance (body image). I share this tool openly with my team (not the specific situations - just the rule and process) and I found that when you’re leading people to bring out the best of them, while also sharing the tools you’re using, it helps them to understand and comprehend consequence and feel like everyone is being treated the same and has a clear idea of expectations.

Gain strength in the past. It will help you through challenges in the present, and serve to vastly improve your future.

Contingency planning is not only part of the 3 Strike Rule, which is more for managing individuals, but you always want to have a plan for your own business operations - don’t wait for strike 2 when it comes to your business plan to develop contingency plans. I always have a contingency plan - always, for all aspects of my organization in order to deliver optimal results. For instance, we are experiencing staffing issues all over the USA. Because I am a contingency planner, I am always working on this. I’ve never had a staffing issue, and I've never had to worry about this - resources come knocking on my door. But, for the first time ever, I've had to worry about staffing and it is making me think differently about my situation. So, what’s my plan? What do I do to try to avoid this worry when my instincts and evaluators are telling me that it isn’t going to get any easier? I come up with and implement a contingency plan. Now, I have multiple part-timers rather than just a couple of FT - this way I have plenty of resources.


Worrying is a sign that we fear something that is usually out of our control. If I am worried about something in my organization - I need a contingency plan. But before I start brainstorming and overthinking while I am worried, I need to take the time for a "planned distraction". This can be reaching out to my mentors and asking for outsider input, researching online, or even just allowing myself to take a walk without thinking about the worry. Then, I am ready to go back to my contingency planning with a fresh perspective.

As far as a planned distraction in reference to my staffing issues… I am focused on one activity while I work on my plan - and that is planning. But before that focus starts, I engage in multiple conversations with peers to gain insight and advice. Planned distractions give you time to gather more information and allow you the opportunity to be objective about the situation. I can then evaluate the information and put my plan into place. Distraction can sometimes seem like a negative word - but it's not a distraction to take you away from the situation so you can procrastinate or avoid the issues - it's a time to step outside of the situation without forcing yourself to rush the plan. By understanding the value of allowing yourself this distraction time, you allow your brain to have the time to think about the situation.

Here's an example... You don't want to figure out how to safely get out of your house if there was a fire while there is a fire, you want to plan ahead, check out the exits, seek information and advice from experts, and think about what your exit plan will be.


I was listening to an inspirational radio program recently and the topic was about how people are able to make it through tough situations. The gist of it was that it’s so important to be connected, in one way or another, to a bigger purpose (which we’ve talked about before) and to be confident that every little step, every day, makes a big difference in moving you over hurdles and toward your dreams. This is 110% correct and is what it means to show up to your life every day! I know my reasons for showing up and following my dreams and goals. I want to look back and see that I stuck to my goals, overcame challenges, and had the opportunity to help other people. Helping people in their lives, and helping leaders - both young and experienced - is one of my life's goals. I know at the end of the day I showed up to the best of my ability. And today, I showed up. We are adaptable - this is what the turtle is all about!

Next month we will talk about Situational Analysis & Problem Solving (SAPS)



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