John Maxwell is a leadership guru that is well known around the world. Just last year Inc. Magazine named him the #1 leadership and management expert in the world. He has written over 20 books and sold over 19 million copies. And despite the fact that I read LOTS of books each year I don’t think I have read any he has written. However, one of the best leadership principles I have used in my life I credit to him. It is the 80/20 principle.
The 80/20 principle was originally “discovered” by Italian economist, Vilfredo Pareto, in 1906 when describing the unequal distribution of wealth in his country. Eighty percent of land was owned by 20% of the people. However, this principle applies to just about anything…
- 80% of management problems come from 20% of the staff
- 80% of donations come from 20% of the donors
- 20% of the workforce produces 80% of the output
It even applies to life…80% of your calls go to 20% of the numbers in your phone’s contact list.
So how does this apply to leadership? If there is someone on your staff, on your committee, in your family, etc. that can do something 80% as well as you can, release them to do it. Yes, it will not be as “good” as you did it and you may have to give some guidance in the beginning, but releasing it to them frees you up to go and do more of the 20% of life that produces 80% of your successes.
You can also apply this in the reverse…if you are only 20% good at (or only 20% “enjoy” a task), find someone to do that task for you. Outsourcing those tasks, even if there is a cost upfront, will reap benefits down the road as you re-direct your efforts in areas that produce a greater return of your energy and time investment.
So take some time the next seven days and track what you do, how long it takes and how much you enjoy doing it. At the end of the week, review the list and see if there is anything you can off-load so you can do more of what you love and which produces the best outcomes for you.