A number of years ago I learned an important principle that changed how I did a lot of things, particularly how I focused.
It’s a principle that I have also passed on to my children and many others. It’s called the Pareto principle—also known as the 80/20 rule.
Vilfredo Pareto was an Italian economist who noticed that 80% of Italy’s land was owned by 20% of population. As he surveyed other countries he also noticed a similar distribution.
What does this principle have to do with teams?
Since Pareto discovered the 80/20 rule, many have also found similar ratios in most areas where there is a cause and effect.
One simple example is something that I have shared with my children, who have all been involved in athletics. I would tell them that 20% of their basketball team (the cause) will give 80% of the effort in practice (the effect). Which means that 80% of your team will only give 20% of the total effort in practice. I would always follow that up with the question, “What percentage do you want to be in?”
It’s true! 20% of teammates will score 80% of the points on any given athletic team. 20% of teammates in athletics will do 80% of the celebrating and so on and so forth…
While it may not always be a perfect 80/20—it could be a 70/30 or 84/16 for example—every cause and effect will fall fairly close to this 80/20 ratio.
Again you ask, “What does this have to do with teams Mike?” Maybe you already caught on with my examples around basketball. But if not, it’s simple…
20% of your teammates or team are getting 80% of the results. If you are in sales, 20% of your sales team or teammates are most likely getting 80% of the sales. 20% of your team or teammates are doing 80% of the work and on and on…
Again, it’s not a perfect ratio, but it is pretty close.
What does this mean for a team? Well, here is the magic… Find a way to get another 20% on your team to contribute 80% and you just multiplied your team’s greatness.
Find out what the 20% are doing right and either develop your team to do the same thing or hire people that can. That’s where the real power and magic is.
I would love to hear your thoughts. Please comment below and feel free to share by using one of the Facebook, LinkedIn or Twitter buttons below.