Spin on Pareto’s 80/20 and you.

Posted on Posted in Aperiodic blog

Screen shot 2014-08-30 at 11.11.47 PMA century ago, Italian economist Vifredo Pareto put forth his observations on market economics.  He concluded that no matter what country, the richest percentage of the population controlled most of the wealth.  

In Italy at that time 20% of the population owned 80% of the land. This paradigm know as the 80/20 Rule or Principle is often explained in business texts as focus on your top 20 percent of customers will yield 80 percent of the business’ profits or 80% of the results in an organization come from 20% of the people.

For an inverse take on the equation, executive search consultants, James Citrin and Richard Smith shed light on the 20/80 Principle For Performance and apply it to career management in their book,The Five Patterns of Extraordinary Careers, The Guide for Achieving Success and SatisfactionScreen shot 2014-08-30 at 11.15.33 PM

The 20/80 Principle For Performance is one of the five patterns that forms the authors’ thesis on what makes an extraordinary career.  The 20/80 Rule in this context is about differentiating your performance, blowing past set job parameters and by creating and delivering unexpected impact to your organization.  Looking at it another way, 80% of your time on the job is about doing excellent work in that position. That encompasses 100%+ of meeting job expectations. It’s the 20% that you focus on above what is expected and, getting the right people to notice, that leads to advancement.  With everything in life, “the quality of your impact often matters much more than the quantity of your activities.”

The five patterns to be harnessed and used by anyone:

  • Understand the value of you
  • Practice benevolent leadership
  • Solve the permission paradox
  • Differentiate using the 20/80 principle of performance
  • Find the Right Fit (in strengths, passion, people)

As Hugh MacLeod of Gapingvoid.com says, “Bring new light to what life might be: that’s what creativity means.”    

Some believe the reason you exist in the first place is to bring some new light  —new angle to the human condition.   Beyond making the world a better place for family and friends, and since we spend so much life immersed in work, why not bring it there and make an impact?

Screen shot 2014-08-30 at 11.15.02 PMAlthough The 5 Patterns of Extraordinary Careers was written a decade ago, there is still much insight enclosed for these Gen Flux times.  In closing, while on the subject of YOU and career navigation, here are few additional reads to check out:


Reinventing You  Dorie Clark

You, Inc.   Harry Beckwith

REWORK   Jason Fried

Maximize Your Potential  99U

Different: Escaping The Competitive Herd  Youngme Moon

the startup of you  Reid Hoffman and Ben Casnocha

Masters of Success: Proven Techniques for Achieving Success in Business and Life   Ivan Misner and Don Morgan

Screen shot 2014-08-18 at 2.50.10 PM Evil Plans, Having Fun on the Road to World Domination  Hugh MacLeod

Linchpin  Seth Godin

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