For many years I have heard people in the church say, “80% of the work gets done by 20% of the people.” I always heard it as an axiom, not as a true mathematical principle. I recently read a book titled, The 80/20 Principle by Richard Koch in which he dives deeply into the veracity of the 80/20 (Pareto) principle. While it was pretty easy to get lost in the mathematical weeds, I found it to be quite helpful in a few ways. A few of the thoughts I drew from the book are listed below.
The author talked both of 80/20 analysis and 80/20 thinking. Rather than reducing all of life into mathematical formulas, he talks about applying the principle to all of life.
The big idea is that, most of the time, 80% of outcomes are produced by only 20% of inputs. The select few will be most productive for almost any enterprise. Here are some examples that you may consider in your life and ministry.
· 20% of your relationships probably produce 80% of the fruit of your ministry.
· 20% of your time spent in ministry will likely produce 80% of your effectiveness.
· 20% of your donors will contribute 80% of the funds for your ministry. (I did some analysis of this and it came out 20/76.)
· 20% of your leisure time and activities probably produce 80% of the joy you experience.
What’s the point? If it is true that 20% of inputs contribute 80% of productivity, let’s be great at that 20%! Invest even more deeply in those 20% most fruitful relationships. Be excellent in your 20% most productive time slots and activities. Be very intentional in developing relationships with those top 20% donors. Be 100% present in the 20% of your family time and leisure that produces great joy. You may even want to cut out your least productive 20% in order to invest even more in the 20% most productive.