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The 34% Principle

By Kim Guevara

January 2024

We often put pressure on ourselves – and others – in both our personal and professional lives to excel in communication and relationships. Yet, being great in these areas doesn’t mean perfection. In fact, even the best communicators and relationship builders nail it far less often than chance. The key lies in understanding the ‘34% Principle’:

Nail it! (33% of the time): Skip on a cloud and celebrate the moments when everything clicks: your ability to communicate and lead is showcased, and you excel. You're not just effective; you uplift and motivate those around you, even in challenging or 'hard' situations, and you achieve what you needed to accomplish. Bonus points at home if that was a toddler or teen!

Fail (33% of the time): Acknowledge that missteps are a natural part of life. Everyone experiences times when they miss the mark, leading to misunderstandings or conflicts in various relationships.

REPAIRS (the 34%): Repairing doesn’t mean fixing a mistake – sometimes you can and sometimes you can’t. It DOES mean going beyond an apology. Part art and science – it’s finding what works to resolve and rebuild the individual relationship.

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The depth and approach of repairs should be proportional to the disruption's intensity. While minor misunderstandings may require only a simple acknowledgment, more significant issues demand deeper, sustained efforts to rebuild trust and understanding.


Effective repairs hinge on understanding the person you're engaging with. Sometimes, the act of sincerely getting to know someone can be a form of repair. For example, acknowledging a mistake with, “I’m sorry for [specific action]. I’d like to understand better how to avoid this in the future or make things right for you,” shows a commitment to improvement and personal growth.


When you're familiar with the person, consider what resonates most with them for rebuilding the relationship. Is it a genuine heart-to-heart conversation where both parties feel heard? Maybe it's a moment of shared laughter, a thoughtful handwritten note, or stepping in to handle a task or chore they find burdensome.

Remember, our brains are wired for connection, and repairs offer an opportunity to demonstrate sincerity and heart. In a work setting, if you have a team you need to repair with – go beyond the group and meet them at their individual level of need.

Reflecting on the '34% Principle': How will you tailor your approach to mend and strengthen the bonds in both your personal and professional life today?


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