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Gut Check: Do You Have A Clear Leadership Success Formula?

In my travels as a leadership adviser, I meet a lot of leaders who claim to have the “recipe” or “formula” for business success. However, few have been able to express it with as much passion and focus as Alain Dehaze.

As CEO of the Adecco Group, the largest staffing company in the world, Dehaze is a true leadership visionary. I was lucky enough to attend our Lee Hecht Harrison Global leadership conference with 240 fellow leaders last week. We were treated to a fireside chat between Dehaze and Ranjit de Sousa, EVP of our EMEA region.

Dehaze, who has been in his role since September of 2015 was asked how he approaches his role and what he pays attention to as a leader. Dehaze shared his “4P” formula for success: People x Purpose x Performance = Profit.

The formula was first unveiled at the Adecco investor’s day event in January of this year. In an interview published on Adecco’s website, Dehaze said 4P was designed to give employees at all levels broad goals that would ultimately result in organizational success. “Its beauty is that it captures and binds together the interests of all our stakeholders,” Dehaze said. “At the same time it is applicable at all levels in our organization, starting from the branch level up to the Executive Committee.”

The 4P formula immediately resonated with me. And even though it is really aimed at organizational success, I believe there is a special message here for leaders. Let’s look at the four elements in the 4P formula from a leadership context:


Regardless of the type of business you are leading, the first critical variable is getting a handle on the people part of the equation. Dehaze spoke of the importance of being able to attract, engage, and retain passionate people to our company. This isn’t anything new, but as he spoke it became clear to me that this was the first and most important variable for him – to get the best people in our industry into our company.


Once you have the people you need to be successful, you must ensure they are clear about what they are working for. Leaders must establish a collective aspiration through a clear purpose. All employees must understand how their work connects with the company’s broader purpose and strategy.


The next variable is ensuring you have the discipline to work deliberately on establishing the right business processes so work gets done as efficiently and effectively as possible. And ensuring that there is oversight so that everyone in the organization is reading off the same page.


Dehaze believes fervently that profits will flow if and when the first three variables are successfully in place. Profits do matter. They are critical to the success of an organization.

What’s interesting to me however, is to see a perspective that says profit isn’t a goal in and of itself. Rather it is a critical and powerful outcome that will result by focusing first on People, Purpose, and Performance.

As I heard Dehaze share his perspective, I began to reflect on my own leadership formula for success. Mine is a little different than the 4Ps, but it still aligns at a high level around the idea that profit is an outcome of focusing on key variables such as people, strategy, execution, accountability and building a strong leadership culture in a company.

As I reflected on my work with other senior leaders, I have found that truly great leaders always have a clear leadership formula for success that guides how they lead the companies they run.

What about you? Do you have a clear formula? Are your people clear on the variables you believe are important to running a successful company, business unit, or team?

Let me know your thoughts and feel free to share your own leadership success formula.


This week’s gut check asks: do you have a clear leadership success formula?

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About the Author

Vince Molinaro is a speaker, consultant, executive at Lee Hecht Harrison, and author of the New York Times bestseller The Leadership Contract now in its third edition.

One Comment

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    Posted on May 5, 2016 at 4:37 pm

    […] another recent blog, I wrote about the need for leaders to have a clear formula for success. It’s what separates great leaders from the average […]

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