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The Power of Priorities

by Lee Huffman

Two Business Challenges

Business people find two things very challenging:

  1. Thinking ahead, and
  2. Doing things in order of importance

Doing these two things makes the difference between success in business and just surviving. Moreover, the same is true for all areas of our lives.

Leadership trainer and author, John Maxwell, says, "Thinking ahead and prioritizing responsibilities marks the major differences between a leader and a follower."

The Pareto Principle

Most people have heard of the Pareto Principle, more commonly known as the 80/20 Rule. Roughly stated this says that in most businesses 80% of your business comes from 20% of your customers.

Other examples of the Pareto Principle are:

Reading:

20% contains 80% of the content

Job:

20% work gives 80% satisfaction

Products:

20% of products bring 80% of profits

Picnic:

20% of the people eat 80% of the food!

Priorities

Therefore... when it comes to your priorities, 20% of your priorities will give you 80% of your production IF you spend your time, energy, money and personnel on the top 20% of your priorities.

When you do this, you are getting a 400% or fourfold return in productivity. Think what this would mean in your business!

Application of the Pareto Principle

Every businessperson needs to understand the Pareto Principle as it applies to the areas of customers, team and leadership.

In the area of customers, it is vital to identify the 20% who account for 80% of your business. These are your "raving fans" and strategies must be put in place to care for them appropriately.

For your team, you must identify the top 20% producers. Spend 80% of your people time with these people to develop them to their full potential.

In leadership, take an honest look at the question "What do I have to do that no one else can do?" Remember a leader can give up everything except final responsibility.

You Decide

You can decide whether you will be reactive or proactive when it comes to the use of your time.

The question is not "Will I be busy?" but "How will I invest my time?"

It is not "Will my calendar be full?" but "Who will fill my calendar?"

It is not "Will I see people?" but "Who will I see?"

Do this and watch your productivity and personal satisfaction rise to new heights!