We’ve got the golden mean and the 80/20 rule. Now, thanks to Barbara Fredrickson, author of Positivity, we have the magic positivity ratio of 3:1: if you have at least three positives – thoughts, phrases or actions – for every one negative, your life will change for the better.
Medical, psychological, marriage and business research all seem to be converging on a similar prediction – that high performance teams, partnerships and individuals all have in common a three to one ratio of positives to negatives.
According to researcher and consultant Dr Marcial Losada, assessing team positivity means counting the statements made by team members on three dimensions: positive vs negative; self-focused vs other-focused; and based on inquiry (asking questions) vs based on advocacy (presenting / defending a position).
Dr Losada calculated that high performing teams had positivity ratios of up to 6:1 and the minimum positive level was 3:1. Teams and individuals with a ratio less than 3:1 tended to get stuck in ruts and unhelpful discussions.