How we define a problem often determines how we analyze it; and how we analyze a problem usually reveals the approach(es) for defining solutions.

Consequently the more clearly we define the problem, the more likely we are to find an appropriate approach, and reveal the most promising solution.

The Pareto Principle, suggests 80% of sales comes from 20% of the workforce, or that 80% of an organizations problems may come from 20% of the workforce. However, this principle also offers value when applied in more tangible arenas. For example Mike Newton shares in his book Hacking Photography that it doesn’t take necessarily take 10 lessons to have a major impact on the quality of your photos. Just 1 lesson can make the difference between average and remarkable!

So in applying the Pareto Principle to the everyday leadership – leaders looking to coach and mentor the most promising should be prepared to invest 80% of their time, effort, attention and resources into the top 20%, to see positive results. Another way of looking at it is doing the ‘hard work now, so that the benefits can be realized later.’  

As a leader, manager, supervisor, or other in position of authority, have you considered applying the Pareto Principle in working with your people? The research is clear, “the predictable imbalance” can be used to consistently produce targeted results. Why not put the Pareto Principle to the test today – then share your results!
Dr. Eugene Matthews
Pareto, V. (2014). Manual of Political Economy: A Critical and Variorum Edition. Oxford University Press.
Pareto, V. (1935). The mind and society. Рипол Классик.
Pareto, V. (1897). The new theories of economics. The Journal of Political Economy, 5(4), 485-502.