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P = P - I

This is a simple but powerful tool to help leaders identify what gets in the way of them taking action and encourages them to find a solution to the interference and distraction that causes procrastination.

Performance (P) = Potential (P) - Interference (I)


The tool can be used for reflection on a retrospective action that has already been taken or it can be used in an anticipatory way focusing on an action that has yet to be taken. Here are the basic steps to follow:

  • Ask the leader to focus on the specific situation (action).

  • Remind them of the formula P=P-I and explain that the idea is to reduce the Interference (I) and therefore increase their performance (P) in that specific action.

  • Ask the leader to write down as many interferences as they can - what gets in the way of them being able to perform this action to their full potential?

  • Keep prompting them with this question until they have exhausted all ideas (hint: most leaders will be able to identify at least 10 interferences for any action and may need prompting to continue after the first couple).

  • Now ask them to assign a 'score' from 1 to 10 to each of the individual interferences they have identified where 1 = minimal impact on their performance and 10 = significant impact on their performance (note: a score can be used more than once and different interference may be assigned the same score).

  • Ask them to identify a mid-range scoring item (e.g. 4, 5 or 6) and concentrate on this interference. The principle is to use a mid-range score interference to demonstrate to the leader that they can take small incremental steps to improve the situation before moving on to consider the higher scoring issues.

  • Now ask the coaching question "What could you do to reduce the amplitude of this score by 1?"

The short video provides a demonstration using the focus activity Analyse Year 9 student data in Science by gender and present impact of support intervention to SLT.


The downloadable document provides detailed instructions on how to facilitate the P=P-I technique.

Framing the P=P-I tool for different situations


The P=P-I tool can be used as a technique in many different ways and this is determined by the way the scoring of the interference is framed. In the above example, we used 1= minimal impact on performance and 10 = significant impact on performance but you could consider some of these alternative frames and how they might help a leader.

The degree of control the leader has over the interference
1 = No control
10 = full control
In this case, you want the leader to increase their score by 1 each time


The frequency of the interference
1 = occasional
10 = constant
In this case you want the leader to reduce their score by 1 each time


How comfortable the leader is with the interference
1 = comfortable and happy to live with it
10 = extremely uncomfortable
In this case you want the leader to reduce their score by 1 each time

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