Vilfredo Pareto was an Italian economist who made numerous contributions to economics, particularly in the area of income distribution and people’s choices. He is best known, though, for his observation that 20% of the population owned 80% of the property in Italy, which, of course, was later generalized into the Pareto Principle and eventually into what we now know as the Pareto Distribution.
Given the current turmoil in our economy, this is a great time to identify the 20% of your activities that drive 80% of your results, and, yes, some of these may seem like small, trivial tasks, but they can drive big results!
“But, John, I just don’t seem to be able to find the time for these high priority items…” This is a line that I hear often. Take a deep breath and realize that you may find the time if you do less of the other 80% of your tasks…
One suggestion for you is to make sure that you are not “micro-managing” your Team, because it takes so much time. Instead, help your employees grow in their roles. Most people don’t come to work with the intent of doing a bad job. Rather, they want to help you succeed. Give them the opportunity to do just that.
One of the best and, frankly, most effective bosses I have ever had did three things. He explained the goal or end objective, made a few suggestions, and then simply oversaw our process. However, he did not micro-manage us. Your employees may occasionally fall short, but that is exactly how they grow, and as long as it is not catastrophic, you will be fine.
So, what are the areas where 80% of your results can come from 20% of your efforts? Take some time today to think this through, and please don’t get discouraged if your results don’t exactly match up at 80/20. You may achieve 70/30 or even 60/40 on some items. That’s okay. You’ll still be better off than getting only 20% of your results from 80% of your efforts!
It’s not necessarily a perfect science, so enjoy the process. And remember, this is not a one-time task. It can pay huge dividends if you complete the process on a regular basis. As new technologies and ideas surface, your 80/20’s may start to come into greater focus. When they do, you’ll be able to start enjoying the process.
That, my friends, is why we call them the “Top 20%.” Be on the watch for our upcoming Next Level Thinking™ workshops. Let’s take your business to the Next Level!