Pareto – The 80/20 rule

You’ve probably heard of this. 

Vilfredo Pareto was an Italian economist who noticed in 1896 that 80% of the land in Italy was owned by just 20% of the population. He followed this with studies which showed that the same was true in other countries. 

In 1941 management consultant Joseph M. Juran started applying Pareto’s thinking to quality improvement, suggesting that 80% of a problem comes from 20% of the causes.  

In leadership terms this 80-20 principle suggests that 80% of your impact comes from just 20% of your work. 

This is why getting your priorities straight is so important. 

What is the 20% of your work that makes most of your impact? 

If you can answer this question, you can shift more of your time into activity that really matters. 

What is the 20% of stuff that causes 80% of the problems?

If you can answer this… You know what to avoid. Or get rid of. 

This is a good recipe for making progress. 

Identify the most productive 20% and amplify. Identify the most annoying 20% and cut it back. Repeat.