6 Versions of the 3 P’s as seen on CNBC’s “The Profit” with Marcus Lemonis

One of my favorite TV shows is “The Profit,” a CNBC production starring multi-millionaire entrepreneur Marcus Lemonis.

CNBC The Profit, The Profit with Marcus Lemonis, Marcus Lemonis, The Profit TV show
CNBC The Profit with Marcus Lemonis

In each episode, Marcus evaluates a small business and decides whether to invest in its growth. The main tool he uses to make business decisions is called the “3 P’s of Business Success”: People, Process, and Product.

3 Ps, 3 P's, People Product Process, Product People Process, Marcus Lemonis, The Profit, CNBC's The Profit, CNBC, strategic risk
Marcus Lemonis – People Process Profit

I was curious about who first developed this concept. Was it Mr. Lemonis?

It turns out this concept has its origins in Lean (a systematic processing method used to eliminate waste). After doing some research, I discovered 5 additional versions that can add depth to your understanding of how to run a successful business.

In this post, you will see each of the six examples and illustrations, along with ideas on how to increase your level of business risk intelligence.

Why the 3 P’s?

Risk is defined as “The probability of uncertainty resulting in a positive or negative impact (wastelossfraud, or abuse).” We calculate it as Likelihood times Effect.

In order to make sense of the possible vulnerabilities that could cause harm in your organization, you can use tools to simplify and help clarify where the problems are occurring.

You can find a variety of other tools here on my website.

Today, I will be sharing 6 versions of a tool called the 3 P’s:

1. The 3 P’s of Business Success

Let’s start with the most popular one, which is mentioned by Marcus Lemonis on his CNBC show The Profit.

People, Process, and Product

3 Ps, 3 P's, People Product Process, Product People Process, Marcus Lemonis, The Profit, CNBC's The Profit, CNBC, strategic risk
Marcus Lemonis’s 3 P’s of Business Success

To add more depth, I’ve included some details that are mentioned on The Profit and elsewhere in interviews with Mr. Lemonis.

3 Ps, 3 P's, People Product Process, Product People Process, Marcus Lemonis, The Profit, CNBC's The Profit, CNBC, strategic risk
Marcus Lemonis’s The 3 Ps of Business Success: detailed


  • Hire the right people to work for you
  • Put them in the right roles
  • Create an environment that helps employees perform at their best
  • Treat everyone with respect


  • Increase efficiency in all areas
  • Find which fewest number of steps will yield the best results
  • Look for opportunities to scale (increase production by 10 times)


  • Evaluate market characteristics (pricing, packaging, sizing, targeting)
  • Consider the feedback from your customers
  • Modify packaging and streamline options to maximize sales

Sources: https://www.americanexpress.com/en-us/business/trends-and-insights/articles/marcus-lemonis-reveals-the-3-keys-to-business-success/ and https://www.cnbc.com/the-profit/

2. The Lean 3 P’s

This concept was created by Lean management expert James P. Womack. He is the founder of Lean Enterprise Institute and the author of Lean Thinking: Banish Waste and Create Wealth in Your Corporation.

Mr. Womack first published the Lean 3 P’s on his blog in 2006, seven years before The Profit first aired. This is actually an established Six Sigma and quality management principle (read more info here).

In an article on his website, Mr. Womack states that he had noticed that many Lean-trained management professionals tend to focus on metrics and performance alone, rather than relating their metrics to the company’s purpose and values,

In response, he developed a variation by replacing Product with Purpose.

3 Ps, 3 P's, Purpose People Process, Lean Management, Lean Six Sigma, Strategic Purpose, Strategic Vision, Business Success, James Womack, strategic risk
James Womack’s The Lean 3 P’s

Purpose, People, Process


Customer view: “What do customers want that you can’t supply?”

  • Lower price
  • Better quality
  • Post-delivery support (such as Product-As-a-Service)
  • Faster process
  • Flexible design

Business view: “What is needed for your company to prosper?”


  • Who is responsible for every important process?
  • Who evaluates the value stream in terms of business purpose?
  • Is everyone in the value stream actively engaged in making improvements?


Consider all actions and information needed to provide value to a customer. Each step should be

Source: https://www.lean.org/womack/DisplayObject.cfm?o=742

3. The 3 P’s of Organizational Success

Created by Peter McLean of The Leadership Lamplight, posted April 4, 2013

A third version of the 3 P’s shows what happens if we focus too much on two parts rather than all 3.

(Unfortunately, Mr. McLean’s excellent content is only available with Wayback Machine, as his websites http://theleadershiplamplight.com and https://www.petermclean.co/ are no longer working)

3 Ps, 3 P's, The 3 P's, People Product Process, bureaucracy, process fulfillment, innovation, Organizational Success, Peter McLean, strategic risk
Peter McLean’s 3 P’s of Organizational Success

People, Product, and Process

In the above image, you can see that combining any two circles without the third will result in an inadequate outcome, as follows:

People + Process = Bureaucracy; low achievement, high adaptability but no results focus or accountability

Process + Product = Robotic fulfillment; low motivation; low innovation

Product + People = Uncertainty; chaos; lack of innovation or systems for achievement or change

But if all three are used together, the organization will have a higher chance of reaching its goals:

People + Product + Process = Stand-out success! High innovation, adaptability, and motivation. Balanced achievement and accountability

In his article, Mr. McLean concludes:

“It boils down to this:

  1. What do we want to achieve?
  2. Who is going to achieve it and with/to whom?
  3. How are they going to achieve it?
  4. How do we support all of the above?”

Sources: https://web.archive.org/web/20140517064138/http://theleadershiplamplight.com/2013/04/04/the-3ps-of-organisational-success/, https://leadershiplamplight.files.wordpress.com/2013/04/3ps-version-a.jpgs (image) and http://www.lamplighter.com.au/ (current website)

4. The 3 P’s of Successful Product Development

I found this example in a Slideshare presentation created by Lou Bahrmasel, PMP, MBA. In it, Mr. Bahrmasel provides some detailed information for each of the categories.

3 Ps, 3 P's, Product People Process, Product Development, Business Success, Lou Bahrmasel, strategic risk
Lou Bahrmasel’s 3 P’s of Successful Product Development

Product, People, Process

Product (Requirements, Design, Validation)

  • Functionality
  • Performance
  • Usability
  • Cost
  • Serviceability
  • Regulatory
  • Manufacturability
  • Security
  • Sustainability

People (Organization, Personnel, Training)

Process (Standardization, Framework, Tools)

  • Governance
  • Terminology
  • Efficiencies
  • Metrics
  • Swim Lanes
  • Templates
  • Flowcharts
  • Continuous Improvement
  • Automation
  • Document Management

Source: https://www.slideshare.net/LouBahrmasel/three-ps-of-successful-product-development

5. The 3 P’s of Service Marketing

This is another Slideshare presentation created by a student named Presented by Junesh Acharya.

He provided examples of how “Physical Evidence” should appeal to buyers in the marketing and sales cycle.

3 Ps, 3 P's, The 3 P's, People Process Physical Evidence, service delivery, flow of activity, service environment, strategic risk
Junesh Acharya’s The 3 P’s of Service Marketing

People, Process, Physical Evidence


  • Human actors in a service delivery cycle
  • Personnel, internal customers, and external customers (buyers)


  • Procedures
  • Mechanisms
  • Flow of activity
  • Service delivery and operating system

Physical Evidence

  • Environment where service is assembled
  • Delivery experience
  • Communication methods
  • Tangible commodities (brochures, letterhead, business cards, report formats)
  • Physical facilities

Source: https://www.slideshare.net/juneshacharya3/3-ps-of-service-marketing

6. The 3 P’s of Sustainability

Finally, the sixth example was developed by Julie Fraser of Iyno Advisors. It focuses on Sustainability and includes environmental considerations (Planet) as one of the essential parts of business success.

3 Ps, 3 P's, The 3 P's, Profit Planet People, Julie Fraser, Iyno, Iyno Advisors, earning potential, positive cashflow, healthy profit margins, strategic risk
Julie Fraser’s The 3 P’s of Business Sustainability

Profit, Planet, People


  • High earning potential
  • Positive cashflow
  • Healthy profit margins
  • Sustainable business model


  • Lower carbon footprint
  • Lower emissions
  • Decrease pollution
  • Conscious of landfill use
  • Eliminate use of “conflict minerals” in mining operations including tantalum (and its derivative coltan), tin (and derivative casserite), tungsten (and derivative tungsten), and gold.


Source: https://www.iyno.com/sustainability-revisiting-people-planet-profit/

I hope you have enjoyed these six examples of business success. Leave a comment below to share which one(s) you are using in your business!

Interested in hearing how you can reverse a toxic workplace? Find out more here.

Grace LaConte is a business consultant, writer, workplace equity strategist, and the founder of LaConte Consulting. Her risk management tools are used around the globe, and she has successfully reversed toxic work environments for clients in the healthcare and non-profit fields. Grace specializes in lactation law compliance & policy development, reducing staff turnover after maternity leave, and creating a participatory work culture.

Find more at laconteconsulting.com, or connect with her on Instagram and Twitter @lacontestrategy.

Grace LaConte is a marketing strategist, writer, and speaker. She is the founder of LaConte Consulting, which offers guidance for manufacturing owners who want to improve their profit, growth, and value. Grace also helps accounting and finance professionals to become top-tier business consultants.

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