The seven Ps are often stated as: Proper Prior Planning Prevents Pitifully Poor Performance. The word Piss is often substituted for the word Pitifully. The seven Ps are applicable in both the public and private sector of our economy. I believe it was originally a British Army adage: Proper Planning and Preparation Prevents Piss Poor Performance.
“I wish I would have read the book before …” is a comment I often receive about my book, Business Fits; How to Find the Right Business For You! Obviously, these people had started or bought a business without proper planning. They have encountered problems they could have avoided if they had read Business Fits first.
Many mistakes are made with small business because entrepreneurs do not know what they don’t know and thus are not prepared. I have a chapter in Business Fits titled “Myths about Starting a Business.” The new entrepreneur often fails to hire the needed expertise because they think they can do everything themselves.
I feel the most important responsibility of any manager in the private or public sector is planning. Crisis management is not good management. If management is competent and a good system is in place there will be very few unanticipated problems. I hate the copout statement often given in partisan politics: “What could anyone do differently at this point.” The real question is, “Why do we put up with the incompetence that got us to this crisis?”
The small business manager is often the owner, and plans for the long-term health of the company. That is not always the case with CEOs of large corporations. Large corporations are owned by stockholders, but run by CEOs. The CEOs are paid a salary and a bonus, and decisions to maximize their bonus are sometimes not in the long-term best interest of the corporation. The bureaucracy of large corporations can give the small businesses an advantage because they can react to market conditions faster.
The Peter Principle is another problem that contributes to lack of planning, poor management, and poor performance. Laurence J. Peter with Raymond Hull wrote a 1969 humorous book called, The Peter Principle: Why Things Always Go Wrong. They first introduced the Peter Principle as the concept where people are promoted to a level of incompetence. Often people are promoted on the basis of seniority, and not ability or qualifications for the new job. This is a problem in both the private and public sectors. In the private sector it is more of a problem in large corporations and with some unions. It is also one of the reasons people want to leave the corporate world for self-employment.
The seven Ps are even more of a problem in the public sector. We elect representatives that are likable, can give a good speech, and can raise a lot of money for their campaign. These politicians often are totally unqualified for the job they have been elected to perform. Why should we be upset when they fail to plan for the future of the country? We elected them.
Appointed bureaucrats in the public sector are also a problem. These individuals are often the supporters and contributors of the politicians that appoint them to the position. Sometimes they are totally unqualified for the job. The only explanation for their poor performance is often incompetence and/or a cover-up.
We can change the management of the public sector with our vote. Don’t be taken in by a likable individual and false advertising. Get the facts and elect an individual that is qualified to do the job.