The Law of Thirds

The Law of Thirds

Today’s blog is provided as a pass along from President Loren Stacy to the District Superintendents.  Last Thursday, June 11, 2020 Loren Stacy attended a webinar conducted by Patrick Lencioni and a couple of his team members.  I was unable to attend because of ministry appointments and preparation for the funeral / Celebration of Life service of Bob Barthel on Friday.


President Stacy reports, during that webinar, they quickly shared three or four brief leadership ideas.  President Loren Stacy offered to give us the Stacy version of two or three of these ideas.  He contends Lencioni is more dynamic and entertaining, but thinks his interpretation captures the basics.  Today’s idea, The Law of Thirds, is in focus.   President Stacy invites us to let him know what we think.  Obviously, I subscribe to the concept because I have chosen to share it with you.


The Law of Thirds

Patrick Lencioni


Think of the people you attempt to lead in any role or endeavor as fitting into one of three categories:

Lencioni says that The Naysayers are usually five to ten percent of your people or less, but because of their negativity and willingness to share it they seem like a much larger percentage than they truly are. Perhaps for that reason, many leaders spend an inordinate amount of time and effort trying to win over The Naysayers. Lencioni says that that is a huge leadership mistake.


If a leader makes The Naysayers his major focus…

  1. The Undecideds will join The Naysayers because that, apparently, is the way to get the leader’s time and attention.
  2. The Supporters will feel unappreciated and leave.


If a leader makes The Supporters his major focus…

  1. The Undecideds will join The Supporters because that, apparently, is the way to get the leader’s time and attention.
  2. The Naysayers will feel unappreciated and leave… eventually… if the leader is lucky.


The leadership lesson: Make it your practice to give the vast majority of your time and attention to The Supporters and not to The Naysayers.


Said another way…

  • If the squeaky wheel always commands your grease, pretty soon all of your wheels will begin to squeak.


Chip’s Reflections:


I think Lencioni is right.  People gravitate to where the leader spends his time.  Followers want to be with their leader, that is why they are there.


In NASCAR there is a principle, look where you want to go and there is where you will soon be.  

The question is, of course, how do you keep from hitting the wall?   

The answer: Don’t look at it because you go where you look.  

The same is true in leadership.  Point to where you are going and where you want those with you to be, not where you don’t want people to go.  They will go wherever you point.  And if they don’t, they are not with you anyway.  If they are vocal in their resistance to your leadership, they may very well be attempting to turn you from the direction you believe God is calling you to serve.  Good coaching and counsel are helpful, but if they don’t confirm the Lord’s call on your life, then to whom are you listening?  God? Or, Man?


Hard lesson:  If people are not going where you are pointing, you are not their leader.  So, release them to follow whoever is their leader.  They will be happier and so will you.


I am looking forward to another point from Patrick Lencioni webinar when President Stacy can provide it to us.


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