Improving results: Use P+B=R model

Paul Butler, Newleaf Training and Development. Submitted photo

The reason why organizations engage our services at Newleaf Training and Development is to improve results. We’ll often be asked to help improve revenues, decrease costs or improve morale.

Specifically, we may be asked to help improve leadership effectiveness; help people better manage their time or reduce conflict in the workplace. The bottom line is, we’re engaged to help improve results.

I realized very early on in my career that organizations are just a collection of teams (which are called “functions” or “departments”) that comprise of individual people (who are called “employees” or “leaders.”) It seemed to me, therefore, that it starts and ends with people. So, how do we improve results through people?

Regardless of the subject, we start all of our work with employees and leaders by considering a simple model we call P+B=R. If we want to improve R, we have to look at the two inputs of P and B. The “P” stands for perceptions. The “B” stands for behaviors and the “R” stands for results.

Worthy of quick repeat — If we want to improve the results (i.e. leadership effectiveness), we have to do some work on the present perceptions and behaviors of the leader. Makes sense, right?

You may have heard this model expressed as the “see-do-get” model: The way we see the situation drives what we do and, therefore, we get a certain outcome. Using the P+B=R model, we say our perceptions of ourselves; of the other person or of the situation will automatically drive a set of behaviors which are no more complicated than what we say, don’t say, do or don’t do. The results we receive, (i.e. as a leader) are a direct output of our perceptions and behaviors. You could say — we reap what we sow.

I’m no psychologist (I’m a recovering accountant) but, over the years, I’ve asked this deep question, “Is that it?” I mean are our results really just an outflow of the way we perceive something and what we do? If the starting point is our perceptions, then how do we know if our perceptions are true?

What’s that old phrase we’ve all heard of, “Perceptions are reality?” Is that even true?

To avoid disappearing down a rabbit hole of psychology and philosophy, we’ve found that for us to help people and organizations be their best, we have to set the perceptions and behaviors down on principles. Did you catch that? Principles. So, the word principle needs to be at the center of the P+B=R circle.

Principles are universal — they apply to all. Principles are objective, not subjective. Principles exist without our agreement — they’re external to us. Principles are timeless — they’re not here today, gone tomorrow.

So, wrestling this concept into programmatic themes — we’ve found that most reasonable employees will agree with the principle that great customer service is when we treat people in a way we ourselves would want to be treated. Most reasonable employees will agree with the principle that teams must have a vision bigger than self, else they’ll perish — they’ll implode and bicker. Most reasonable employees will agree with the principle that effective leaders are servant leaders — they’re men and women of high character and high competence, who are others-centered, rather than self-centered. Most reasonable employees agree with the principle that if a leader can’t look after their own finances, they’ll probably not make very effective stewards of the company’s finances.

So, as an employee, a team leader, and CEO or business owner — don’t just ask yourself how you can help shift perceptions and behaviors to get better results. Go one step further and ask yourself if your perceptions and behaviors are based on principles.

I’ve found that if we set ourselves on the solid rock of a principle, the window through which we see the world (our perceptions) and our behaviors automatically align and, as a natural outflow, we get better results for our customers, our organization, our team and ourselves.

Paul Butler is a Santa Clarita resident and a client partner with Newleaf Training and Development of Valencia ( The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily represent those of The Signal. For questions or comments, email Butler at [email protected].

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