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The 1-3-1 Method

In the dynamic world of business, decision-making can often become a complex and daunting task, especially when dealing with intricate projects. As leaders and managers, finding an approach that streamlines this process while empowering your team is crucial. Enter the 1-3-1 method, a structured and innovative approach to problem-solving that can transform the way your organization tackles challenges.


Understanding the 1-3-1 Method:

The 1-3-1 method is a simplified yet powerful framework for breaking down and addressing complex issues. This is a focused problem-solving process with three key stages:

  1. One Goal: The process begins by identifying and clearly defining one specific goal or problem statement. This goal should be clear, concise, and well-defined. It answers the fundamental questions: “What problem are we trying to solve?” or “What outcome are we trying to achieve?” Setting this goal is the crucial first step as it provides a focused direction for the team.

  2. Three Strategies: With a clear goal in mind, the next step is brainstorming three distinct strategies or approaches to tackle the problem. These should be diverse, allowing for creative thinking and a broad spectrum of potential solutions. This stage is crucial for empowering team members to contribute and showcase their analytical and problem-solving skills.

  3. One Best Approach: The final stage involves evaluating the three proposed strategies and selecting the most promising one. This decision is based on factors such as feasibility, resource availability, potential risks, and expected impact.

Applying the 1-3-1 Method:

Let's consider an example: increasing employee engagement within a company.

  • One Goal: Improve employee engagement.

  • Three Strategies: Implement feedback sessions, create a mentorship program, organize team-building activities.

  • One Best Approach: After careful consideration, implementing regular feedback sessions is chosen for its potential impact and feasibility.

Benefits of the 1-3-1 Method:

  1. Simplicity and Clarity: The method breaks down complex problems into manageable steps, making it easier to address them effectively.

  2. Empowerment: By involving team members in strategy development, the method empowers them and enhances their commitment to the project.

  3. Diversity of Solutions: It encourages creative thinking and a range of solutions, fostering innovation.

  4. Informed Decision-Making: Selecting the best approach involves a careful analysis of various factors, leading to more informed and effective decisions.


The 1-3-1 method is more than just a problem-solving framework; it's a mindset shift. It encourages leaders to delegate and trust their teams, and it empowers team members to take ownership of challenges. While it's a streamlined approach, it's important to remember that real-world problem-solving can be more nuanced and may require additional steps like implementation planning and monitoring. Nonetheless, the 1-3-1 method is a robust starting point for modernizing decision-making processes in any organization.

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