Have you ever wondered what it means when a McKinsey consultant is told to ‘be more 80/20’? This simple yet powerful concept is a key tool used in design thinking and management consulting to achieve robust solutions quickly and efficiently.
Known as the Pareto Principle, the 80/20 rule suggests that 80% of outcomes come from 20% of inputs. By identifying the key factors that drive the most impact and focusing on those, consultants can prioritise their work and deliver results with greater speed and accuracy.
In this blog post, we’ll delve into the world of consulting and explore how the 80/20 rule is used to maximise productivity and efficiency. Whether you’re a seasoned consultant or new to the field, understanding the principles of 80/20 can help you achieve better results with less effort.
What’s the 80/20 rule?
Vilfredo Pareto, an influential Italian economist, made a startling discovery that only 20% of the population owned a staggering 80% of the land in Italy. Although Pareto’s principle is merely an observation, it has proven to hold true in various fields, including biology.
In the world of consulting, the Pareto principle is not just a guideline, but a way of life. Phrases such as “We don’t have time to boil the ocean. Let’s apply the 80/20 rule,” are commonly heard. However, it’s important to understand that the Pareto rule isn’t about dividing the workload in your team, with one person taking on 80% of the tasks. It’s about working smarter, not harder.
Successful consultants excel at planning their work strategically, rather than putting in long hours at the office. By focusing on the most important tasks and streamlining processes, consultants can achieve their objectives quickly and efficiently, delivering high-quality results that exceed client expectations.
Benefits of the 80/20 rule
By applying the 80/20 rule, you can identify the areas that deserve the most attention and prioritise your time, money, and energy towards them. This enables you to set realistic goals and map out specific actions to accomplish them, thereby keeping you focused on what matters most.
Here are just a few notable benefits the 80/20 rule provides:
1. Improve time management
The 80/20 rule is a valuable tool for improving time management by allowing you to recognise and prioritise tasks that produce the greatest outcomes. Focusing on the most impactful activities will enable you to work more efficiently, which can enhance your professional growth prospects and even help you achieve a healthier work-life balance.
Our experts at Mojo Soup adopt this principle by blocking out specific periods in their schedule to assess and organise their work according to the rule. They then concentrate on completing the 20% of the tasks that will yield 80% of their desired results. This allows them to maximise their productivity and ensure that they’re working on the most critical tasks at any given time. By adopting this approach, our Soupians can achieve their daily objectives more efficiently and deliver superior results for their clients.
2. More effective leadership
Incorporating the 80/20 rule into leadership can greatly enhance one’s ability to drive business results. By identifying the areas that generate the most impact, leaders can streamline their decision-making processes, maximise their time, and improve their delegation skills.
At Mojo Soup, our consultants recognise the importance of delegating tasks effectively. Using the 80/20 rule, our team leaders delegate workload to qualified resources as appropriate, freeing up their time to concentrate on other critical areas. This empowers our team members to take on greater responsibility and grow their skill sets, while leadership remains focused on achieving strategic goals and driving the company’s success.
3. Better use of company resources
The 80/20 rule is a powerful tool for optimising company resources. By prioritising the 20% of activities that generate 80% of results, companies can make strategic decisions on how to allocate their time and resources. For instance, they can apply this principle to conduct thorough research on their competitors or industry trends, staying ahead of the game and maintaining their competitive edge.
At Mojo Soup, our consultants apply the 80/20 rule to streamline our hiring process. We identify the key traits and qualifications for successful candidates and focus our efforts on finding the most suitable individuals. This approach results in a more efficient hiring process that saves time and resources while still attracting top talent.
Moreover, the 80/20 rule helps us create a positive and supportive work environment, enhancing our company culture. By focusing on the activities that have the greatest impact on our team member satisfaction and engagement, we foster a culture that values our Soupian well-being and promotes growth and development.
At Mojo Soup, we have developed a unique approach to using the 80/20 rule to help prioritise tasks effectively. Our methodology involves the following steps:
- Create a comprehensive list by creating a list of all your daily or weekly tasks. This will give you a clear picture of everything you need to accomplish.
- Review and evaluate your list – take a closer look at each task and evaluate its level of importance. Determine which tasks will have the most significant impact on your goals
- Prioritise tasks based on urgency and importance, ensuring that critical tasks are handled first
- Focus on high-yield activities by identifying the tasks that deliver the most significant results or outcomes and prioritising them to make the most of your time and resources.
- Assess your strengths – prioritise tasks that align with your strengths and expertise. Delegating or outsourcing tasks that are outside your area of expertise can help you focus on the tasks that matter most and benefit from team capability to drive efficiency.