This week was really bad for me.
There were lots of meetings - most of them urgent , adhoc tasks , too many transactions to be completed both at work and at home and so on and so forth. I usually plan and make goals for the week. So , on Friday evening when I sat down to check how much I had achieved of these goals, I was really dismayed ! I was reminded of the 80-20 rule and I would like to elaborate on this.
This may come as a surprise, but despite all the talk about life balance, we can benefit by introducing a little imbalance into our day. I'm referring to the 80/20 rule, which is rooted in what is known as the Pareto Principle.
Vilfredo Pareto was an Italian scientist. In 1906, Pareto observed that 80% of income in
was received by 20% of the Italian population. Pareto's theory of predictable
imbalance has since been applied to almost every aspect of modern life. Italy
When applied to work, it means that approximately 20 percent of our efforts produce 80 percent of the results. Learning to recognize them and then focus on that 20 percent is the key to making the most effective use of our time and effort.
Finding the 80/20 ratio is crucial for maximizing performance in any business. We have to identify the products or services that generate the most income (the 20 percent) and drop the rest (the 80 percent) that only provide marginal benefits. Spend the time working on the parts of the business that we can improve significantly with our core skills and leave the tasks that are outside our best 20 percent to other people. Work hardest on elements that work hardest for us. Reward the best employees well, cull the worst. Drop the bad clients and focus on upselling and improving service to the best clients.
Sounds easy? But in reality, the identification of the 80 and the 20 is the most difficult.
Sample situations :
· 80% of process defects arise from 20% of the process issues.
· 20% of sales force produces 80% of the company revenues.
· 80% of delays in schedule arise from 20% of the possible causes of the delays
There is also a management theory floating around at the moment – which may be a bit controversial , that proposes to interpret Pareto's Principle in such a way as to produce what is called Superstar Management. The theory's supporters claim that since 20 percent of your people produce 80 percent of your results, you should focus your limited time on managing only that 20 percent, the “superstars”.
The 80 - 20 Rule, should serve as a daily reminder to focus 80 percent of our time and energy on the 20 percent of our work that is really important. We should not just "work smart", we should work smart on the right things.
Another term for this rule is "The Vital Few and Trivial Many." As a side-note , another of Pareto's controversial theory is that human beings are not, for the most part, motivated by logic and reason but rather by sentiment – but this is another topic altogether and I will talk about this some other time !
Apply the 20 to work for your Vital 80 and enjoy your weekend !