The 4P Approach

We have explored the Vmax DRIVE model and seen how this enables us to understand how a leadership team is performing against the two critical determinants of envisioning and executing change.

When we use this model in the change process it becomes a dynamic measure of capability and performance as well as a clear focus on precisely what needs to be done, at what time, throughout the change journey.  Mapping this helps us to see the change journey and to articulate it clearly and consistently to our teams – thus helping us in the crucially important process of engagement.

The Vmax 4P model provides the overall structure of the change map –


What are we here to do and what outcome(s) are we seeking to achieve?


What are the guiding principles that we need to adhere to through the change journey?


What, specifically, do we need to do and do differently in order to deliver the purpose we are focused on?


What do we need to measure as we go through change and what does the change curve actually look like?

This 4P approach looks deceptively simple, yet we very frequently work with leadership teams who focus on the bottom two – practice and performance and find themselves locked in an iterative loop which keeps them very busy but is not necessarily strategic or consistent.

 The loop works like this:

Of course, teams will bounce out of the loop when they achieve the performance targets but this may require a number of iterations and changes which can be confusing to the teams below who are asked to change but do not always understand why.  When this happens on successive occasions, trust and confidence in the leadership team tends to go down with the obvious consequences.

In such circumstances we work with leadership teams to define the top two Ps – Purpose and Principles.

Purpose is critically important – it is, in effect, Sinek’s “Why?”  Having a clear focus with outcomes helps to align the team, lift the performance horizons to a strategic level and enable a clear, consistent and compelling message that we are all working together to achieve.  For this reason it is imperative that we don’t take a simplistic view to defining the Purpose which normally results in a statement along the lines of “we are here to make profit for our shareholders”. My challenge to this is usually that we can, of course, make more profit by reducing quality and salaries, whilst increasing prices and paying suppliers later.  The response to this is always that the team wants a sustainable business which, logically and naturally then extends our Purpose to include a broader focus on customers, quality, service, engagement, supply chain management and profile.

In this way the Purpose takes on real meaning and that meaning is very specific to the organisation which in turn helps the team to align and own the purpose and associated outcomes. 

Agreeing and defining the Principles that we need to demonstrate helps to bring the team dynamic to life and provides a framework against which the performance and behaviours of the team (and the organisation) can be evaluated on an ongoing basis.  In essence, the Purpose defines the destination, and the Principles define the boundaries within which we operate whilst working towards the destination.  We find it really helpful to define the Principle at the outset – it is much easier to agree them when we approach the task from a rational and logical perspective before the inevitable emotionality of engaging with change impacts on our perceptions and our behaviours.

When we do encounter people not adhering to the Principles, having the opportunity to refer back to a clear agreement and alignment at the start of the process helps enormously in both providing feedback and encouraging awareness and behaviour change.

Additionally, when we do get caught in the iterative loop of changing practice to deliver the required Performance, we can refer back, in a very transparent way to the Purpose and Principles and ask

If the answer is no, then we need to reconsider the proposed changes and find better, more aligned ways of addressing the Performance deficit. 

If the answer is yes, then we can confidently make the changes and communicate to our teams that we are making tactical changes within the context of a consistent strategic journey.  That message helps to avoid images of “fishtailing” and reactive leadership and replaces it with purposeful and intentional responses to contingent circumstances whilst remaining strategically focused and aligned.

In the next Insights we will look at how we align the 4Ps and the DRIVE model to create a change map and to help manage the change process.

Watch Dr. Paul Victor in-session with a client discussing the 4Ps below


We challenge you to be the very best you can be and fully support your leadership team along the journey to change.

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