CEOWORLD magazine - Latest - C-Suite Advisory - Three Words That Work

C-Suite Advisory

Three Words That Work

In January, I wrote an article called A Time for Three Words about employing a practice Chris Brogan has been using consistently since 2006. For more information on what it is and how it works, see My Three Words. As a reminder, my three words for 2022 are Purpose, Clarity, and Intentionality. We’re getting to that time of year when I decided to reflect on those words, choose three new ones for the upcoming year, and maybe (just maybe) encourage you to do the same. I hope my reflection will help me identify three new words for 2023 and assist you with selecting and embracing yours.


2022 has been challenging. It was a make-or-break year for Peernovation and the business that supports it. I am sure many of you can relate to feeling what five-time all-star Major League pitcher Elwin Charles (Preacher) Roe once described after he was taken out of a game in the second inning, “Sometimes you eat the bear, and sometimes the bear eats you.” While I approached most days with all the confidence and optimism required to meet any challenge that came my way, there were other days when my “why” was all I had to hold me up and prepare me for a brighter tomorrow. 

I want to build and develop a more cooperative and collaborative world. At the start of the year, I had no idea that my “why” would serve as such a source of strength on days when I took myself out in the second inning – when the bear ate me. On those days, I had to appreciate how far I’d come versus how far I still had to go. The fact that Peernovation is so incredibly effective feeds my soul.  

Because I had many more good days than challenging ones, supported by an increasing number of clients who seek to write the next chapter for their future work, I enter 2023 with more possibilities to make a difference than ever before. Thanks to everyone who supported my purpose, including everyone at CEOWORLD Magazine.  


A few days after writing A Time for Three Words, Grammarly and Harris Poll released a study revealing that US companies are losing $1.2 trillion annually because of poor communication. While we all intuitively understand the power and value of communicating effectively, Grammarly/Harris Poll put a number to it. Beyond that, the data also reveal that this situation won’t likely improve anytime soon. Why? Consider this: 82% of knowledge workers believe they are good communicators. As long as those knowledge workers believe that ineffective communication is a deficiency for everybody else, they won’t look in the mirror in search of the source of the problem – which is among the only places they are likely to find it. 

In addition to looking in the mirror, knowledge workers and leaders must also accept responsibility for effective communication. As I mentioned in January, this responsibility exists in business, track & field, the operating room, and the battlefield. For example, runners pass a baton to one another in a relay race. If the baton hits the ground during the pass, the responsibility lies with the runner who passed the baton because (s)he let go of it before (s)he was sure it was in the firm grasp of the recipient. Receipt of the message as intended is up to the sender, not the receiver. Whether it’s business, sports, medicine, or on the battlefield, it’s an immutable truth.  

Finally, when humans don’t have the information they need, they tend to replace it with their own narrative. This dynamic leads people to make assumptions that are usually wrong, and in today’s fast-paced work environment, assumptions simply aren’t going to cut it. Remember the last time you invited some clients to meet you? You arrived first, and your clients were late – no call, no text. The longer you waited, the more likely you would be to concoct stories about their tardiness, the fact that they are always late, and how dare they be so disrespectful. Later, you learned that a company emergency diverted them from your meeting. Oops. 

Assumptions are kryptonite to teams. Clarity is their superpower.


My third word served the other two better than I could have imagined. If we want something to happen, we need to be intentional about it and do so consistently. Think about any relationship in our lives. The moment you get it into your head that you love your partner and your partner loves you, the possibility exists that each of you becomes complacent about telling and showing each other how you feel. Over time, you do so less and less. You might even start forgetting or minimizing anniversaries and other special occasions. Lack of intentionality breeds atrophy and compromises efficacy. Great teams are a product of intentional effort toward building trusting and caring relationships. This word has helped me up my game personally and professionally, and I suspect it could also help you.       

Words That Work Summary    

I still need to identify my three words for 2023. I will reflect on it for the remainder of the year and make a case for them in my first CEOWORLD article for 2023. This much I know: I will select words that stand on the shoulders of my three words for 2022 and make them an AND, not an OR. My challenge will be to come up with three new words that help me take my commitment to purpose, clarity, and intentionality to new heights. I invite you to do the same. 

Written by Leo Bottary.
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CEOWORLD magazine - Latest - C-Suite Advisory - Three Words That Work
Leo Bottary
Leo Bottary is the founder and managing partner of Peernovation. He is a sought-after thought leader on Peer Advantage and Peernovation, emerging disciplines dedicated to strategically engaging peers to achieve personal and organizational excellence. A popular author of three books, including Peernovation: What Peer Advisory Groups Can Teach Us About Building High-performing Teams (Archway; October 16, 2020), he is also an author, keynote speaker, workshop facilitator, and thought leader on the topic of peer advantage.

Doctor of Education (Ed.D.) (ABD) in Organizational Leadership Studies at Northeastern University.
M.A. in Strategic Communication & Leadership at Seton Hall University.
B.A. in Political Science and German at Jacksonville University.

Books by Leo Bottary:
Peernovation: What Peer Advisory Groups Can Teach Us About Building High-performing Teams (Archway; October 16, 2020).
What Anyone Can Do: How Surrounding Yourself With the Right People Will Drive Change, Opportunity and Personal Growth (Routledge; September 3, 2018).
The Power of Peers: How the Company You Keep Drives Leadership, Growth & Success (Bibliomotion; March 22, 2016).

Leo Bottary is a member of the External Advisory Board (EAB) for the CEOWORLD magazine. You can follow him on Twitter and LinkedIn.