The 3 R’s Revisited

What skills does it take to be successful today?  With so many changes in the way we conduct our business and lives, it would seem that there must be a significantly different profile of required skills to be successful.  And there would be some truth in that belief given the impact of a more global economy and the ever increasing integration of technologies into how we do things.  But it some cases, the basics remain the same.  For my generation (and a few before mine…) we grew up focused initially on the three R’s – Reading, wRiting and aRithmetic..  If you could read, write and do basic math you had the necessary skills as a foundation to function as a member of society.  Even with higher education, it was really just creating or achieving significant mastery in some discipline that you still acquired through the application of those basic skills.

What I find interesting is stepping back and looking at some of the basics we’ve adopted and depended on up until now to see if the role and/or discipline has changed.  And, if so, how to not just adopt but also adapt.

Here’s what I think the three R’s look like today:

#1 – Reading = Research    

A key skill today that applies the basic reading and comprehension skill is research.  There is an overwhelming amount of information available to us.  Being able to find, analyze and absorb data and convert it into meaningful information is a fundamental skill for anyone wanting to achieve success in today’s business environment.   And where this takes on that same evergreen quality that reading has held for so many generations beyond the vast amount of information is the velocity of change in that information.  What we research today will need to be re-visited again.  Perhaps as soon as tomorrow.

#2 – wRiting = Rehearsal

Think about where the highest paid professions are and you will soon realize that they are in fields that spend far more hours rehearsing than they do performing.  The highest paid or most productive “time” is optimized through the refinement of the product or service.  Whether at the level of a (business) plan, marketing messages or surveys, focus groups or any number of examples that can be brought into the discussion the key is first putting it on paper – even if the paper is virtual.  Writing has become planning.  The draft of the reality before launching officially in the market.  We refine and edit.   It has in fact become a way of scripting success.

#3 – aRithmetic = Review

The numbers still tell the story but it’s about more than financial numbers today.  It’s about metrics and any number of measurements that tell us whether we are hitting our intended mark.  Think about the fact that the essence of music is math.  When a note is off, when one instrument is out of rhythm, it impacts the whole.  It is the same today with the numbers of business.  There are many divergent lines in the mix but to be successful, the whole must be in harmony.  Reviewing all of the numbers related to performance tells us if we’re on track.

These three elements can be used to create an effective framework that generates excellence in any business or other endeavor.

Think about your particular business:

  • What should be routinely researched?
  • Are you rehearsing the right things at the right times in order to set your company up for success?
  • Are you reviewing every aspect of performance and then going back to research and rehearse where you find room for growth?

This is a good example of what the art of possibility embodies.  Re-framing what we know so that we can apply knowledge in the most meaningful way for today.


About Kathi Laughman

Referred to by her clients as “The Plan B to Z Expert”, Kathi inspires them to see beyond probabilities to possibilities. They are stronger, happier and more financially secure than ever before. The result is the creation of far more value in the rest of their story than they ever dreamed possible. She serves professionals committed to continuously creating new pathways to success and significance.

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