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The 4P’s: Perspectives. Points of View. Provocations. Plan of Action.

In a world filled with increasing amounts of data, computational power and advances in AI, talent will matter even more if we a) focus on what is unique to humans and b) do so in a way that leverages the power of technology.

Data is as important as electricity.

No business or leader can survive without it.

But just as no company differentiates itself through its use of electricity, data alone will rarely differentiate a company or leader.

Where the differentiation is found.

What story do we extract, weave, and tell from the spreadsheet of the numeric, the files of facts, and the streams of prompts that cascade, glitter, and dance on our screens?

Three years ago, almost every Government leader in the world had the same data about Covid-19 but they all made very different decisions on how to combat the disease.

Every year investors have access to more data and more tools, but this access has rarely made anyone a better investor and what usually separates great investors from lesser ones are how they mentally and emotionally determine what to pay attention to and how to stomach risk. Data and technology are inputs, but it is experience, wisdom, patience, and emotional fortitude that are the key ingredients when added to the inputs that result in differing results.

It was not the data or the technology that made the difference. It was the people, the history, the geography, the culture, the emotion.

How to lead and add value today.

True leaders do not hide behind numbers and say things like “there is too much uncertainty.”

Life is uncertain.

If things were certain, a machine could do our jobs.

So let us be glad the future cannot be lived forward with only backward-looking databases.

What do we bring to the data and next generation tools when we bring the data and tools to our management, clients or to meetings?

What matters is not the data and technology but the perspectives, points of view, provocations, and plan of action we bring.

The 4P’s

Perspective: How is what we are recommending today or what is happening today look from different vantage points? For instance, the vantage point of a longer time horizon or the vantage point of a different person. This is often what machines or less experienced people do not have.

Points of View: We often bring well documented cases and facts to buttress our arguments. These are essential. But the documentation and facts will never differentiate us versus others or machines since most people will bring the same facts. It is the point of view which matters. What do we believe this means versus what others say or what the facts state.  What do we believe especially when we believe differently. Points of view matter.

Provocations: The best organizations and teams find ways to balance, unify and integrate different and diverse points of view including those that challenge the status quo, speak up to power and question accepted thinking. It is when the internal challenges go missing does a company and leader begin to miss delivering results. Thinking provocatively is often key.

Plans of Action: While perspectives, points of view and provocations help determine what needs to be done one does eventually have to “make happen”, “to do” and to take ideas and convert them to reality.

Machines will often suggest potential actions and we may calibrate different paths with probabilities of success but sooner or later true leaders and successful individuals suggest a clear-cut plan of action.

A plan of action that may be revised once data suggests otherwise but it is key to commit to action.

To succeed in an age where data is plentiful, pattern matching cheap, and machines are becoming smarter we should all begin lots of valid data and differing points of view.

But to add true value to a company and our careers it will be key to ask ourselves all the time what we offer as a) a perspective, b) a point of view, c) a provocation and/or d) a plan of action on everything we have imbibed versus just reporting facts and process.

If we do, we will forever grow and succeed.

If we do not, we will be undifferentiated and will be automated away.

Photography byUwe Langmann

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Rishad Tobaccowala is an author, speaker, educator and advisor who helps people see, think and feel differently about growth. Growth of their business, their teams and themselves. For more about Rishad Tobaccowala click here.

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