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The four “P’s” of Building a Great Business.

Some of us remember things better when given a catchy phrase or rhyme.  Here’s one to help you with squeezing the most out of your available resources.  It reflects the new reality in our business world, one with little room for mistakes and no room for bloat within our companies.

The first “P” stands for people.  The wrong person in a job causes all below or above that person in the production system, that depend upon that person, to operate at a reduced rate or quality of output.  And if there are people depending upon the output of that wrongly-placed individual, they too will suffer from reduced resources to complete their jobs.  The cost of a bad or failed placement in any position in a company’s critical chain is enormous and goes far beyond the salary paid to that individual.

The second “P” is for productivity.  If a good person is failing at the job, it may be because you have not provided the resources necessary for that person to do the job expected.  Hire a great sales person then fail to support him or her with a good marketing effort or a properly priced quality product, and that person will be set up to fail, and for reasons you might have fixed.

[Email readers, continue here…]  Then there is the third “P” – performance.  Like a great orchestra, it takes a skilled conductor to bring the best out of the collective members of the group.  You are responsible for the quality of performance that defines an excellent enterprise and assures long life for the company as competition becomes more aggressive and geographically extended.

The fourth “P” is for process.  How to get your offering from development to market?  How to stage and tune a production line for maximum quality and output?  How to penetrate an established market with a groundbreaking new product, but on a limited budget?  All these are process questions, often faced by management when seeking success.

All of us have limited resources and must deploy them effectively to gain the most possible ground in the marketplace.  Like a chain with four links, no one of these can be weak and allow us to succeed in our endeavor.  Focus and attention must be paid to each to strengthen the chain.  Over time we will explore these issues more deeply using the “theory of constraints” (TOC) method of looking into your physical and financial roadblocks.

The four “P’s”:  People, productivity, performance and process.

Which of these four P’s is your weakest link?  What can you do to rethink, reinforce and redirect resources and remove roadblocks to the success of that link and enhance your whole organization?


  • Nihal Muradoglu

    its 6 P s– not 4







    pricing — market

    may i call it this 6 P s ..


  • Great Concept! Simple and powerful (for CEOs, Execs and Board Members).

  • Dave, you hit it dead on.

    Sadly, sometimes productively performing process-oriented people may be humming along, but not thriving in the market.

    To be successful, an organization needs to market itself both innovatively and effectively.

    Providing incredible foresight on how to accomplish the marketing task, in the mid 1990′s, advertising visionary Tom Patty of Chiat/Day authored “The New Five P’s of Marketing.”

    The document, which was at one time posted on the internet, but has since been lost, has been recreated in its entirety from an old printed copy from my files.

    I’m interested to hear your thoughts…

  • Don Kasle

    Dave —
    Great article, as usual! I’d add a 5th “P” and that is Persistance. It is needed in implimenting successfully the other 4 “P’s” you referenced.
    Don Kasle

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