Implementing the 80/20 Rule in Your Business

June 24, 2022

This month our Round Table discussions focused on the Pareto Principle, the idea that 80% of our outcomes result from 20% of our efforts.  The goal is to identify the most valuable tasks and make them a priority.  As you will see, our conversations varied greatly from Round Table to Round Table.

Join a Round Table!  See our current listing for a location near you.  Also, we offer several virtual options so you can join from anywhere.

All Time Zones Round Table
The leaders at our All Times Zones virtual Round Table, reimagined the 80/20 rule as they watched and discussed a short video of a TED Talk by Francis Cholle, entitled, ‘The Intuitive Intelligence Movement.’   TEDxKC – Francis Cholle – The Intuitive Intelligence Movement – YouTube.  According to Cholle, businesses in the U.S. are in the midst of a creativity and sustainability crisis.  The #1 leadership competency of the future is innovation, which requires creative thinking.

Much of human intelligence lives in our subconscious mind.  80% of our brain works behind the scenes to run the digestive system, pump blood through the body, etc.  We are conscious of 20% of our brain working.  Creative problem solving and creative thinking requires us to tap into our subconscious mind.  This can be accomplished through day dreaming, sleep, and play.  Typically, business strategy is developed in board rooms where creativity is stifled, leaving out 80% of our intelligence.

In order to solve problems creatively, we need to re-think the way we think.  Four new ways:

  1. Think holistically, 360 degrees.  Businesses are created by people and for people but only the P& L statement is discussed when making strategic decisions.
  2. Think paradoxically. Create an analytical and intellectual as well as a playful business environment for your employees.
  3. Listen for the unusual, stop talking and start feeling. Feelings connect you to your instincts.
  4. Lead by influence. Give up control.  If you are to have a creative organization, you need people who can step into the unknown and take risks.  We must let go of the dominance of the hierarchical mind and embrace the interconnectedness of life.

Our members took a three-minute test to help understand their thinking and their approach to problem solving.  This test with results, is available on  Once the test is taken, you are provided with a 24-page report, a description of your approach to thinking, details of your untapped potential, and a path to personal growth.  Consider sharing the link and results with your employees, workgroup, and/or clients for a greater understanding of their thinking and collaboration styles.  

Kalamazoo Round Table
If 80% of your results are from 20% of your efforts, what if you spent 30% of your efforts toward those results?  Laser focus for better results.

Define and focus on the major tasks or projects that move your company forward.

If you are a salesman, spend time your time selling.  Block schedule your time and stick to your schedule.  Understand that sales reports, product orders, etc., can be delegated to staff.   Learning to trust your staff is critical to your success.

Structure your business and staff so that the important and critical tasks are given the time they deserve.

One business leader in Kalamazoo is challenged to lead a large volunteer workforce, with two part time employees.
Being dependent on volunteers, he recommends the following to motivate staff:

  1. Praise constantly.
  2. Continually share the mission and vision, the ‘why’ of what they do.
  3. Empower them to make decisions.  Recently our member called his volunteer group together to make a decision on whether or not to take on additional business.
  4. Thank them continuously.
  5. He uses the same techniques to motivate his part time staff.

It’s important to be yourself and be vulnerable as a leader.  Let your employees know you are human, and you do not have all the answers.

Naples Round Table

Encourage your employees and family to adopt the 80/20 rule – don’t push, encourage.

Communicate with someone—humans need 7 touches a day–the world is lonely after the last two years.  Apply the virtue of charity to someone you know is having a hard time.

To implement the 80/20 rule, write down the 5 things you need to accomplish on a 3×5 card.  Do the top priority.  Then, see if you can do the others.

Birmingham Round Table
Setting expectations is paramount, as God set expectations when he died on the cross for us.  Setting expectations is part of our relationship with each other as well.

Be aware that at times, we tend to take ownership of things we shouldn’t because we know we can do them successfully.

Midday Round Table
One business leader noticed that 80% of his income came from 20% of his clients. This realization forced him to focus on searching for new clients.

One member thought the 80/20 rule reminded him about the parable of the seed being spread on rocky ground.  It’s important to focus on where the seeds or our efforts, will be most productive.

We determine our 80/20 by looking at past actions.  We can see what works and make corrections.

We discussed Stephen Covey’s 4 Quadrants with the Activities and the Results of operating in each quadrant.

Quad 1 = Urgent and Important Tasks:  Crisis, deadline driven. Results in stress, burnout.

Quad 2 = Not Urgent but Important Tasks:  Planning, creating.  Results in balance, vision, perspective.

Quad 3 = Urgent but Not important Tasks:  Interruption, some emails, some callers.  Results in short-term focus.  Results in feeling victimized.

Quad 4 = Not Urgent and Not Important Tasks:  Personal emails, busy work.  Results in total irresponsibility, fired from job.

Quad 1 is dealing with emergencies and putting out fires.  Strive to operate from Quad 2 which allows for planning, intentional action, and implementation of your strategy.

Be aware the drama of operating in Quad 1 can, for some people, be addictive, and some may want to remain working in Quad 1.

Upcoming Events

  1. Join us on Friday, July 22 at 8:00-9:00am for a Global Webinar, with Os Hillman, President of Marketplace Leaders and Aslan Group Publishing.
  2. Our Grand Rapids Leadership Breakfast Social with Linda Kleist, owner of Identity Creative, is on Friday, August 19 at 7:00-9:00am at the University Club.

If you are unable to attend our events, subscribe to CBRT’s YouTube channel where you can review all past event presentations.