Long ago, I “invented” the 3 Ps of Organisations: Product, Process and People. I was pleased by this summation of all things business and organisations. Then I encountered six sigma’s 3 P approach to quality systems. I was less pleased, because they had beaten me to the punch (plus, I despise their use of formulas for the bleeding obvious – literally, their formulaic approach). I was pleased once again, however, recently reading that the 3 Ps are a bedrock of tech giant Samsung’s approach to everything it does. All of their new staff are inducted into these elements of organisational success, along with other ideas such as “global management” and perpetual innovation cycles.

I conceptualise the 3 Ps as a Venn diagram. Seeing it this way, one can see how the interactions (or lack thereof) between these 3 elements create imbalance within an organisation.

3 Ps - Copyright Peter McLeanFor strategy, organisational design or specific project design and management, this is a more coherent and productive way of conceiving of organisational effectiveness than the balanced scorecard approach, which tends to be used in an ad hoc fashion that lists a whole bunch of priorities that unduly complicate and overweight particular elements. Analyse your operations and see if you are attending to each P as a critical element.

It boils down to this:

  1. What do we want to achieve?
  2. Who is going to achieve it and with/to whom?
  3. How are they going to achieve it?
  4. How do we support all of the above?

Copyright Peter McLean 2013

The 3Ps of Organisational Success
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