The 80/20 Principle is Alive and Well

I recently worked with a client to set clear goals for their managers and staff. In this process, we uncovered a common problem: the firm’s partners spent too much time coaching underperformers and not enough time developing their most effective people. The underperforming staff always had a problem or an issue that the partners needed to address. The top performers figured things out for themselves. Yet with more time and attention, the top performers could dramatically increase their own productivity. The bottom performers showed limited improvement.

As leaders, one of our responsibilities is to make sure that, while everyone is valued, we invest our time in key employees who can then lead and develop other people. Do you invest your time in your leaders? Or, do you spend most of your time with your “problem children” whose issues always demand your attention? Many times key employees won’t monopolize your time because they are capable, independent, and can make do on their own. It is up to you to pursue them, to build your relationship with them, and to make sure they understand how their efforts fit into the larger corporate goals.

Performance Principle: Before you spend your time solving people problems, invest your time with your most effective people. In that light, here are some questions to consider this month:

Questions to Consider:

  1. What steps can you take to invest your time with your key people?
  2. How can you be of value to your biggest contributors?
  3. What type of help or support to your top performers need?
  4. What type of coaching do your most effective leaders and manager need?
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