In engineering, manufacturing and other places, there is the 1-10-100 Rule. Essentially it means if a flaw is addressed in the engineering phase, it cost $1. If you address that same flaw in the manufacturing phase, the cost is now $10. And, you guessed it, if the flaw makes it to the customer, it’s one hundred times more expensive to resolve.

Could the same rule apply in your office? Before you go into your next meeting ask yourself, “What’s the cost if we only solve issues but don’t build better, more effective relationships?”

Here’s the elephant in the office: Most leaders only talk about “teamwork” when they don’t have it. They conduct “business as usual” until cracks show up in their team, until there are breakdowns in trust, alignment and communication. The 1-10-100 Rule applies here; and that’s an expensive way to do business.


Fact: you are engineering relationships and your culture in every interaction of the day. The most effective leaders use the meetings they participate in to enhance the quality of their relationships, develop trust, and create alignment. This ensures that “flaws” don’t show up down the line.

This approach is easier than people think. Ultimately, it is achieved by focus. When we provide feedback to others that addresses desired behaviors, we generate more of those behaviors. This means focusing on effective teamwork when you have it rather than waiting until you don’t.

While it’s cost effective to engineer great relationships up front, the best leaders report this approach is the most personally satisfying as well.

Before your next meeting ask yourself: What behavior will I engineer that ensures flawless relationships moving forward?

Where will you lead – where will you stomp elephants – today?

Activate Your Greatness.

Activate Your Greatness.

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