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Three Laws of Performance

Podcast with business, government, and non-profit strategist, Dave Logan

Dave Logan Dave Logan

"When the Three Laws in this book are applied, performance transforms to a level far beyond what most people think is possible. It doesn't happen bit by bit, but all at once, as organizations and individuals rewrite their future." - Steve Zaffron and Dave Logan

Welcome to a Leadership Channel podcast on Total Picture Radio with Peter Clayton reporting. In their new book The Three Laws Of Performance: Rewriting The Future Of Your Organization And Your Life ( link), Dave Logan and co-author Steve Zaffron show companies and individuals how to revive people's passion for accomplishment creating a pathway to unprecedented organizational and personal success. Zaffron, who is CEO of the Vanto Group, has directed corporate initiatives with more than three hundred organizations in twenty countries. Logan, who is on the faculty at the Marshall School of Business at the University of Southern California, works with businesses, government, and non-profits, implementing cultural change and strategy. Logan is the author of Tribal Leadership.(Link to TPR interview)

The Three Laws Of Performance is no ordinary change-management book. When the Three Laws are applied, performance transforms to a level far beyond what most people think is possible. Based on in-depth research supported by Zaffron's and Logan's direct experience, the book is filled with dramatic case studies that illustrate the power and immediate benefits of applying the Three Laws. All of these transformations were based on applying the ideas that are at the heart of this book. In a clear, step-by-step progression, Zaffron and Logan take the reader through each of the Three Laws and show how to apply the Leadership Corollaries that initiate transformation.

The Laws and their related Corollaries

Law 1: How People Perform Correlates To How Situations Occur To Them – The First Law rejects the concept that people do what they do because of a common understanding of the facts, and instead takes the view that people do what they do because their actions are correlated to how situations occur to them. When people understand that situations occur differently to each of us, then other people's responses and actions suddenly makes sense.

Leadership Corollary: Leaders Have A Say And Give Others A Say, In How Situations Occur – Leaders cannot control or determine how situations occur for others, but they do have a say. The authors suggest that leaders ask themselves: "How can I interact with others so that situations occur more empowering to them? What processes, dialogues, or meeting can I arrange so that people can feel like coauthors of a new future, not merely recipients of others decisions?"

Law 2: How A Situation Occurs Arises In Language – How situations occur is inseparable from language. Untying the knots of language begins with seeing that no matter what is said, other communication is carried along with it. The unsaid – but communicated – includes assumptions, expectations, disappointments, resentments, regrets, interpretations, and more.

Leadership Corollary: Leaders Master The Conversational Environment – In most organizations, the network of conversations is noisy and conflicted, filled with chatter that makes new futures impossible to occur. The effective leader must change the conversational environment, insuring that everyone has a chance to clear out their issues, eliminate old grievances, and leave space for a new future.

Law 3: Future-Based Language Transforms How Situations Occur To People – This Law rests on an important distinction: there are two different ways to use language. The first use is descriptive – using language to depict or represent things as they are or have been. The second is future-based. It has the power to craft vision, and to illuminate the blinders that prevent people from seeing possibilities.

Leadership Corollary: Leaders Listen For The Future Of Their Organization – Leaders do not rewrite the future by themselves. They listen for a future that inspires them and then they create a space that allows others to help them coauthor a new future.

The key to transformation, Zaffron and Logan explain, is designing a future not to solve a single problem, but to create systematic change that impacts everyone. In commenting about THE THREE LAWS OF PERFORMANCE, Archbishop Emeritus Desmond Tutu, Nobel Laureate, said, "God invites each of us to participate in the process of transforming the world – to create a world in which every person knows their infinite and irreplaceable worth and can truly fulfill their potential. This book filled with insights, real-life encounters and experiences, shows us how we may do this work of transformation. Applicable in the corporate, labour, political and civil society sectors – Steve and David have written an inspiring, practical book that will assist all who seek to rewrite the future of our world."


Dave Logan is on the faculty at the Marshall School of Business at the University of Southern California and is a former associate dean. He is also senior partner of CultureSync, a management consulting firm whose clients include Intel, American Express, Charles Schwab, Prudential, and Health Net. Logan has written three books, including Tribal Leadership. Steve Zaffron is the CEO of the Vanto Group, a global consulting firm that designs and implements large-scale initiatives to elevate organizational performance. Vanto Group has consulted with such companies as Apple, GlaxoSmithKline, Johnson & Johnson, Heinz Northern Europe, Reebok, Northrop Grumman, Petrobras, Telemar Brazil, and Polus Group Japan. A highly experienced international consultant, Steve has worked with top executives and has led programs for over 100,000 people worldwide. He holds an MA from the University of Chicago and a BA from Cornell University.

Peter Clayton

About Peter Clayton

Peter Clayton, Producer/Host, is an award-winning producer/director of radio, television, documentary, video, interactive and Web-based media who has created breakthrough media for a wide array of Fortune 100 clients.


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