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  • Writer's pictureAndrea Nicholas

What is your rule of thumb?

At a professional luncheon, the breakout icebreaker question was to share a quote or rule of thumb that resonates so powerfully with us that we've adopted it as an element of our philosophy.

First off, what a fun icebreaker!

The answers were fascinating, providing keen insights into the attendees' perspectives and, as a good icebreaker does, allowing us to get to know one another better.

What is a rule of thumb or quote that has significantly impacted you?

One of my favorite came from a statistics professor on our first day in class: "One data point is meaningless. Two are a lie. Three are a trend."

Immediately, I began to consider ways in which the "trend" approach could be applied to a lot more than statistics. It became clear that this could be a useful screening tool for various things - data, people, events, etc.

Over the years, I've adopted the "three data points" to assist with analysis and decision-making on a litany of matters. Whether evaluating financial data or studying client activity or assessing employee performance, or even troubleshooting my dishwasher recently, collecting data points and pondering the trend has served me well.

What is your rule of thumb? How have you applied it?

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