P2 R L Formula of Success

P2 R L Formula of Success
Dr Ashutosh Karnatak

Annual promotion exercise was completed in our organisation recently.  Some got promotions and were thrilled, whereas for others it was not palatable that they had not been considered. One senior officer who did not make it up the ladder, took my permission to go home after lunch. Another official who had been very confident of getting a rise, came to me and asked for reasons for not being considered. It is true that his performance had been reasonably good during the last three years, and it can be said he had been preparing himself for the elevated post. He had taken responsibility for any work given to him apart for his assigned work, and had started looking for solutions. It compelled me to study the reasons for his behaviour. This led to an outcome that an individual is not able to comprehend normally.

As per cause and effect theory, any effect is due to some cause. It is an established theory. Based on this concept, I tried to find out the reasons for the same, and explored the following reasons:

  • Perception
  • Performance
  • Relationship
  • Luck


This is the P2RL formula. i.e. S=P*P*R*L

This formula works for performance of an individual in the corporate sector. If any factor is less, it reduces the chances of success. For perfect success S should be equal to 1 or between 0.8 to 1.0. Nearer to 1, chances of success increase. First three factors are in the control of the individual whereas the last factor Luck (for believers in fate) is not in one’s control .

For a typical calculation, let us consider:

L= 1.0



It can be seen that the R factor has slimmed down the chances of success despite better perception and performance. One may argue that he could not get the desired results in spite of having performed to his best. He does not believe in relationships etc, but he has performed and is surprised that he got such a result.

The answer is that world always acts like this. After achieving a particular level, relationships start contributing.

Let us see how different parameters influence the success of the individual at different stages of professional life. 



It is called that first impression is last impression .Perception is a phenomenon which is made by others. Generally once perception is formed; it is difficult to improve upon it whether it is good or bad. Most often, one suffers from the perception of others even though his intentions are not bad. In the corporate sector, perception depends on the boss/bosses to whom one is reporting as well as the environment in which one is working.

Generally there is parallax between perception made by others and that made by oneself. Almost 90 percent of the people think they are correct i.e. have a good personality, good professional capability etc. But the perception of others may differ from this.

I shall share an example from my own experience.

One day my boss told me that he had observed that my decision making is not as per his expectation, whereas my perception about myself was that I was a good decision maker. So it was a parallax which needed to be removed.

Perception is a sub-conscious effect, which leaves an impression in the mind for a longer period. It is hard to say which impression would come out as perception.

It is my observation that perception hits hard in the mind of an individual. The fact that an employees has not followed instructions some 5 years earlier, still lingers in the mind despite, his excellent performance in recent times. A corner of the mind still retains that bad memory which spoils the perception. If the mind is not open, this could overshadow any recent good performance,
Perception made by others is also very important and has an impact on total perception. In mathematical formula it can be expressed as:

Total Perception (TP) = Individual Perception (IP) + Environmental Perception (EP)

Environmental perception is the icing on the cake. Consider the case of an official named Rahul who has joined an organisation. Rahul is due for promotion this year. He is one of the excellent officers and his boss Mahesh had a good perception of him. Yet while filling his confidential report, Mahesh asked for a feedback from others. One of the officials close to Mahesh said something negative about Rahul. This influenced Mahesh’s perception about Rahul. Such is the influence of environmental perception.



This is the most important aspect of the professional life of anyone. In any organisation, one is established on account of his performance in different areas. Performance is not limited to the disposal of assigned work but also other attributes like leadership, decision making, relationship with peer group, problem resolving attitude etc. As such, no one should be under the pretense that without performance based on relationship etc one can succeed. It is clear and simple that one has to perform, and perception and relationship supports it.



This is also a very important aspect of life which is required to be maintained for different purposes. For ease of understanding it can be understood as under:

  • Barter  Relationship
  • Fixed Deposit Relationship
  • Emotional Relationship


In the first type, the relationship is sustained as long as the barter between two individuals continues. There is no emotion involved in this case. It is more or less a commercial relation. Nowadays, most relationships tend to be only of this kind, which requires to be maintained on commercial basis.

In the second type of relationship, you maintain it just to take support in case of need. It is like an insurance which is offered to someone without payment of premium. The relationship is maintained not en-cash, but for the occasion when dire requirement comes up.

The third type of relationship is of a pure form. It is based on emotions. Two individuals are linked by their hearts. In this, one likes to use himself for the welfare of the other to the fullest extent. This relationship does not look for any commercial transaction or anything in return. We need to lay more emphasis on this type of relationship.



Persons who believe in fate will appreciate this aspect. My understanding is that, if some event is going to take place, it would take place as it is destined to. Fate or destiny is the conspiracy of forces to make the thing happen. So, if one is destined to be successful then perception, performance and relationship is going to be favourable. Some of us may have experienced it, but this does not mean that we should depend only on perception, performance or relationships for success. Requisite effort has to be put in for optimal gain from these factors.

Phase- 1: From 23 to 35 years

This the formative age of an individual’s career when after completion of graduation or post graduation one enters into professional life. His first objective is to prove himself professionally, i.e. as his professional capabilities gets displayed to others, the perception starts forming as well. It is my experience that the first three years are very important for any individual after joining a job as he is new to corporate life. He is observed by everyone in the office not only for his professional understanding, but his attitude, knowledge, behaviour etc are also under surveillance. This is the point when Perception about him is being formed by others or his environment.

Consider the case of Rahul. At the end of the first year when Annual Performance Reports are being filled there may be the following comments:

  • Rahul is good in his work, his knowledge is good but he argues too much. Perception starts forming and now one will start seeing him as a good worker but argumentative. He has started to be compared with others, and based on this he is being rated. On account of this perception he may get fewer marks than others.


  • Another comment could be that he is good at his work but his argues on the subject. This could be good or healthy for any decision making process, so his argumentative attitude needs brushing up, further he has just started his career so he should be given marks.

Now, whether he would carry forward the first or second perception would depend on the type of Boss who is rating him.

So, it this is the stage where perception is formed along with professional capabilities.

The PPR profile as per age group is as under:


  • Perception : Formation stage
  • Performance : Formation stage 
  • Relationship : not very important


Phase-II: 35 to 45 years

This is the phase, when perception formation has reached a plateau and very little improvement is perceived by others. Most collegues tend to take the person for granted in their present condition. However, scope for improvement in the region of performance still remains. It’s the time when the relationship with internal as well as external environment is blossoming. And one needs to opt for maintenance of this relationship. Selection of the right person with whom the relationship is to be maintained, requires dexterity.

The PPR profile as per age group is as under:


  • Perception : Almost frozen
  • Performance : Still Continuing
  • Relationship : Formation stage


Phase-III: 45 to 55 years

This is the phase, when one is riding high in the professional field. By this time one has developed enough maturity, become professionally sound as well have achieved financial comfort. At this stage, the environment is able to understand about the individual and the process of perception is almost frozen. Professional career also looks ahead. As competition enhances, the annual ratings at official level become more important and stringent. The boss becomes critical while evaluating an individual. Relationships become important and run parallel to perception and professional capabilities. Rahul’s boss had a good relationship with his bosses, and his perception and performance was already good, so he was rated “Outstanding”. From this point onwards, relationship with your superiors, peers even with sub-ordinates counts.

For example: Rahul’s boss Mahesh seeks the opinion about Rahul from Suresh who is a trusted lieutenant of Mahesh, although he is junior to Rahul. The feedback would help the boss Mahesh to make a perception of Rahul. Now it is upto Suresh what methodology he uses for presenting the feedback to Mahesh.
The PPR   profile as per age group is as under:


  • Perception : Frozen
  • Performance : Already Established 
  • Relationship : Needs development


Phase-IV: 55 years and above

This phase is the most mature phase of life, where perception and performance levels have already reached a particular level. Not much can be done on improvement of the same. Only minimal improvement can be made

as by this time the mental conditioning has matured. Very little improvement is expected as most individuals reach a mental plateau condition by this stage. However, relationships start giving dividend as we grow older. To get selected for the posts of Director or Chairman, adequate network of relationship is required. It may not be out of place to mention here that at this stage relationships matter because competency levels of all the competitors are almost the same, so selection is to be done based on strength of relationships.

The PPR profile as per age group is as under:


  • Perception : Frozen
  • Performance : Already Established 
  • Relationship : Keeps on developing 


The graphical representation of PPR is as under:

Years of Age
  21 - 35 years 35 - 45 years 45 - 55 years 55 years onwards
Perception formulation almost frozen Frozen frozen
Performance formulation still establishing Almost established established
Relationship not very significant Formulation Needs development keep on developing

Role of Luck

You are not being advised to become fatalist, but sometimes you may feel that success in not being achieved in spite of better perception, good performance and sufficient relationships. On the other hand, sometimes favourable results are achieved even when less effort is put in. This often compels one to think that “Fate or something else does govern us”.


Road to Success

For success in the corporate sector, perception and performance go together. Rather performance drives perception. Relationships matter, but there is no alternative to performance. Keep on performing better and better, it would help you to have a better perception and reach greater heights.

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