The 1-3-1 Rule For Leading Marketing Teams At Scale

On this episode of the podcast hosted by Dean Denny, discover the powerful ‘one three one rule’ for leading marketing teams. Learn how this rule can streamline meetings, empower team members, and drive business growth. Find out how to maximize team productivity and efficiency in marketing leadership roles. Explore strategies for clear problem-solving and decision-making processes to accelerate progress and minimize time-consuming discussions.


[00:02:25] Leverage team for successful marketing campaigns.

[00:03:52] Marketing meetings can spiral out of control, but implementing the 1-3-1 rule can help streamline discussions and decision-making.

[00:05:35] One three one rule for problem-solving.

[00:07:02] Implement 1-3-1 rule . Empower, leverage, move faster, get most out of people.


Lessons Learned from the Podcast

Key Components of the 1:3:1 Rule

1. Define the Problem (The One): When a team member presents a problem or challenge, the first step is to clearly define the specific issue at hand. It’s crucial to focus on identifying the core problem rather than getting sidetracked by multiple issues.

2. Develop Three Solutions (The Three): Once the problem is defined, the team member is tasked with generating three potential solutions. This encourages creativity and critical thinking, providing multiple options to address the identified problem.

3. Recommend the Best Solution (The One): Finally, the team member selects and recommends the most suitable solution from the three options presented. They must justify their choice, providing rationale and insights behind their decision.

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Hey. How you going? It’s Dean here. Welcome to Open Source Growth. And in today’s episode, I wanna go through the 1-3-1 rule with you when it comes to leading marketing teams.

Now the 1-3-1 rule is classic rule that you can go about implementing inside of your one on one and your one to many conversations that you have with your marketing team.

It doesn’t matter whether you’re talk, but you’re talking with your media buyers or your content creators or your direct marketers or your email marketing coordinators. This strategy works so so well as a CMO or a Head of Growth or a Chief Growth Officer or whatever your marketing management title may be to ensure that you get the most out of your team members.

See, when you hire people and you hire team members, you wanna ensure that you are getting the best bang for a buck out of them. You’re investing your company’s hard-earned energy time, resources, and money into making sure that you can pat out an excellent marketing team with incredible people on the inside so that we can do bigger and better customer acquisition campaigns or bigger and better brand awareness campaigns. So when you have brilliant people underneath you, you can do these amazing leveraged, full blown campaigns.

Now there is a downside to this when you have more people and that involves more conversations. When you’re the Chief Marketing Officer or Marketing Manager or the Head of Marketing or the Chief Growth Officer. So let’s just go with you’re in marketing leadership. Let’s just use that for today’s episode because the more people there are, the more personalities there are, the more likelihood that you’ll have that there will be a difference of opinion between one member of the marketing team and another. There will be conflict.

There’ll be all sorts of junk that you need to go about resolving as the marketing leader to ensure that everyone is matching forth towards the north star of your business. And, obviously, every business has their own north star objective. I’m not going to tell you exactly what yours should be today, I can hint, grow your business. It’ll do the best thing for you in your life. It’ll change everything for you. Anyway, that’s is my personal opinion.

But, what can happen when you’ve got so many people underneath you is that a marketing meeting, which is normally 30 to 45 minutes can turn either to an hour or a two and a half hour discussion because you go down a rabbit hole. You open a can of worms. Everyone wants to have their opinion. And everyone’s got an idea and not only will they have one idea, they may have three ideas and they then want to cross-pollinate that with each other.

And it can turn into a freaking nightmare. Everyone forgets about the agenda that you set for the meeting. Then luckily you’ve got those AI note takers, so everything’s captured, but it can be a real shemozzle. I would argue it can be a true shit show.

Now, you’re probably thinking how can I get around this and how do I get myself? How do I get myself in a position where I can get away from having these long-winded technical conversations. How can I get my team to package everything so we can make the best decisions to move forward faster?

To move forward with greater precision and to ensure that half-baked ideas are simply not just like spat out at a meeting and we go on a gigantic merry-go-round. And what we’ve implemented is from a book called Buy Back Your Time by Dan Martell.

And the main premise of the book is don’t hire for skills, hire to buy back your time as the founder of the business or the marketing leader of the business to ensure that you can play a more leveraged game. And build a fantastic business. We’re implementing in head to toe inside of our agency, and it’s doing massive things for us, but where this 1-3-1 rule comes into its own is truly in marketing meetings with your team members.

Now it doesn’t necessarily have to be one to many, but it can also be a one to one. And I like to use this approach in the one to one. So let me just go through it. Here’s the 1-3-1 rule. The first thing you do when you’re talking with a team member and they provide you with a problem or a scenario, which they need to overcome. You gotta go.

The first thing you do is the number one. Just say you’re talking to John. John, I need you to clearly define the problem we are trying to solve. Not three problems, not seven problems. The one problem. So then you get John to go about defining what that problem is specifically. The second thing you asked, John is John I need three solutions for this. I need you to develop three solutions for this problem. What would you, what are the three solutions you would come up with? What are my three options?

And then get John goes out. Comes up with these three options.

And then finally.

The one. John. Which solution do you recommend and why?

Guess what happens when you actually deliver this? John goes to his own drawing board. John picks up a pen. He picks up his laptop keyboard. You’re right. He thinks it through. John then brings it back. Comes to you, you see his rationale in clear sight on paper. And you can make a decision to move things forward that saves you having to resolve your situations.

Not only does the 1-3-1 rule enable you to get away. From having to do the thinking for him, it enables you to step into your power as a marketing leader, to do the higher leverage activities and enables you to move faster. It enables you to get the most out of your people. And it enables all these incredible things for your organization. People feel happier because they’re dictating the way things are moving in the business. They feel like you’ve got genuine buy-in with their view and how they see the world. And it’s just incredible.

When you start to get this to work at scale, you can use this in a one-to-many environment. You can use it in a one-on-one setting. I think a one-on-one setting is where it’s really good, and you can use it in all areas of your business. So if you liked this episode today, I really do encourage you to subscribe. I do encourage you to implement the 1-3-1 rule inside of your business.

And I always, always encourage you to have the most remarkable day.

I’ll talk to you soon. Bye bye.


Connect with Dean Denny, host of Open Source Growth and Director at Owendenny Digital

Owendenny Digital, Australia’s #1 SaaS Marketing Agency


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