The Power of the 80/20 Principle in Life and Leadership

My life and leadership changed dramatically when I not only understood the 80/20 principle, but started practicing it. A eureka moment! A respected CEO I admire recently explained its impact again. This time it started to sink in. This time I started to really change the way I lived and worked. 

He explained: 

  • 80% of the wealth comes from 20% of the people.
  • 80% of the production comes from 20% of the workforce.
  • 80% of classroom participation comes from 20% of the students.
  • 80% of the profits comes from only 20% of the customers.
  • 80% of problems are generated from 20% of the employees.
  • 80% of of sales are generated by 20% of the sales people. 

What an eye opener, the best 20% of my activities were sixteen times more productive than the remaining 80%!

What changed for me?

  1. If I want to decrease the rush and complexity of my life and increase my productivity, then I needed to focus on my top 20%.
  2. I needed to stop doing so many low value activities. 
  3. I needed to identify with ruthless conviction my top 20%. 
  4. I needed to schedule my top 20% in my calendar everyday. 
  5. I needed to off-load the over-load and delegate, outsource, and eliminate my 80%.
  6. I needed to evaluate the way I was spending my time and reprioritize my schedule.
  7. I need to exercise my "no muscles" and stop trying to please everyone.
  8. I needed to ask "what gives me the greatest return in my business?"
  9. I needed to ask "what is most fulfilling and rewarding in my life?"
  10. I needed to be guided by my purpose not pressures.

I have revisited the powerful 80/20 principle and am striving to experience more simplicity. The one thing helping me most is keeping focused on the "main thing" in each of the seven key areas:

  • Business
  • Leadership
  • Family
  • Fitness
  • Finances
  • Spiritual peace
  • Fun

During this season of your life I encourage you to shift from being a doer of many things, to a leader of a few great things.

Here's to your top 20%!


For information on keynote presentations, team workshops, and one on one coaching, contact Steve's team at: or call: (425) 681-9871.

The purpose of Leadership Quest is to help professionals develop their personal leadership, vision and emotional intelligence. Everyday I strive to help leaders and teams achieve their desired goals in sales productivity, leadership, time maximization, and life-balance.