The Six P’s
My first exposure to the Six P’s was when I undertook basic training in the Army. It was drilled into us that “Prior Preparation and Planning Prevents Poor Performance”. (Actually I have sanitised that just a bit .
Being a somewhat optimistic and positive thinking person, I later converted the Six P’s to be “Prior Preparation and Planning Promotes Positive Performance”.
So what’s the point of telling you about this?
Well, we just moved house, and with a family of 5 (all of whom who are hoarders), this was no small undertaking! I wouldn’t say that it was executed with the precision of a military manoeuvre, but without the Six P’s we would have been in big trouble.
And that got me thinking about how it relates to business…
I’m not sure how much of this was propaganda, but I remember being taught in my early business studies about the basic difference between post World War II Japanese and Western manufacturing.
The Japanese would start by planning extensively – for up to 80% of the time available for the project – and then execute – just once – to a very high standard, if not perfectly.
On the other hand, the Western managers would certainly plan – but for much less time (say 20%) – and then execute the plan.
And then adjust and re-execute to fix up all the errors.
Cirque du Soleil shows are another interesting example of effectiveness of the Six P’s.
A Cirque show will start with experts (performers, production etc) and even then, still take anywhere from 2 to 4 years to prepare! The artists all undergo artistic and acrobatic training at the Creation Studio where they around twenty trainers from around the world to supervise performer-training programs.
Kà, which opened at the MGM Grand in late 2004 – an extravaganza complete with giant puppets, archers shooting flaming arrows, and the “Wheel of Death” – cost $ 165 million to stage and was 4 years in the making.
O, a theatre based show performed in the water, took more than 400,000 man-hours of preproduction and production work to prepare, not counting the time spent on the construction of the theatre (and another US$ 100 million).
My own experiences with performance are similar – years of scales and lessons to get my voice ready, followed by practicing each song literally hundreds of times, before I was ready to perform live on stage or to record.
The Six P’s make it all look effortless, but only if you’ve done the work beforehand.
The same applies to just about any discipline you can name.
Frank Sinatra, Dean Martin and Bing Crosby all made singing look effortless. So did Margot Fonteyn, Rudolf Nureyev, Fred Astaire, Ginger Rogers and Gene Kelly when it came to dance.
How easy did Johnny Wilkinson and Andrew Mehrtens make it look to kick a rugby ball accurately? Or these players when they hit a tennis ball? Court, Navratilova, Evert, Goolagong, King and Graf.
My friend Robyn is the fastest typist I have ever seen. She was last measured at over 150 WPM!
Whether you are an accountant who can look at the numbers and see things mere mortals cannot, or a business coach / mentor who can spot the real issue – not just the symptoms, or perhaps a counsellor who knows in the moment just the right question to ask, people look at you in awe and ask “How do you do that?”
How? I’d suggest it is the Six P’s at work.
It is conservatively estimated that it takes 10,000 hours to become “expert” in something. This equates to 250 x 40 hour weeks = 5 years full-time.
Becoming an expert in your field (no matter whether it is law, graphic design, dentistry, sales, importing, investment etc.) has become a prerequisite to firstly survive and then flourish.
So if it takes this long, how can we speed up the process of becoming an expert? 5 years is a long time, especially if you are in the early stages of your business.
The secret is the Six P’s – combined with doing work ON the business.
Yes, I know, we’ve all heard it before. But do we do it?
I work with women entrepreneurs who feel overworked and getting nowhere, so they end up frustrated and unsure of how to move their businesses forward. I help these women build a Higher Purpose Business so that their business works for them, rather than them working for it.
To know more about my approach to business, check out http://quidditybusiness.com.au