Apply the 80/20 rule in multiple ways

Apply the 80/20 rule in multiple ways

Vilfredo Federico Damaso Pareto was born in Italy in 1848.  He became an important philosopher and economist.  One day, he discovered that 80 percent of the land in Italy was owned by just 20 percent of the population.  Later on, he investigated different industries and he found that 80 percent of production typically came from just 20 percent of the companies.  On the basis of these foundings, he designed the so-called 80/20 rule.  And this rule can be applied in multiple ways. 

Apply the 80/20 rule to your speed of taking decisions
Businesses need strategic speed.  Speed is key.  Speed of production, speed of learning, speed of service, etc.  And speed of taking decisions.  Dare to apply the 80/20-rule to decision-taking. Think about the important (business) decisions you have taken in your life.  In quite some situations, you will have gathered 80% of the information you need in the first 20% of the time available.  Generally speaking, gathering the other 20% of the information would take 80% of the remaining time, but it would not substantially improve the quality of your decisions.  So the key message is: let your intuition do the work and do not always analyse too much.  Slowing down your decisions may slow yourself, your team and company. 

Apply the 80/20 rule to leading
When you are leading a group of people, who typically asks for the most time and attention? The weakest ones in the group. If you allow them to, they will consume 80 percent or more of your time. However, proactive leaders don’t allow that bottom 20 percent to take all their time. They focus on the best 20 percent - the people with the greatest leadership potential – and they invest their time developing them. They know that if they develop the best, the best will help with the rest.  Leaders who attract only followers and never develop them don’t increase the value of those they lead.  Leaders who attract followers grow their organization only one person at a time. When you attract one follower, you impact one person. And you receive the value and power of one person. However, leaders who develop leaders multiply their organization’s growth, because for every leader they develop, they also receive the value of all of that leader’s followers.

Apply the 80/20 rules to your activities
If you focus your attention on the activities that rank in the top 20 percent in terms of importance, you will have an 80 percent return on your effort. For example, if you have ten employees, you should give 80 percent of your time and attention to the best two. If you have one hundred customers, the top twenty will provide you with 80 percent of your business, so focus on them. If your to-do list has ten items on it, the two most important ones will give you an 80 percent return on your time.  If something I’m doing can be done 80 percent as well by someone else, I delegate it. If you have a responsibility that someone else could do according to that standard—or that could potentially meet that standard—then develop and train a person to handle it. Just because you can do something does not mean that you should do it. Remember: activity is not necessarily accomplishment.


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