Adapted from The 80/20 Principle and 80/20 Revolution, Richard Koch


"If we did realize the difference between the vital few and the trivial many in all aspects of our lives, and if we did something about it, we could multiply anything that we valued."


The 80/20 Principle asserts that there is an inbuilt imbalance between inputs and outputs, causes and consequences, and effort and result. It states that a minority of causes, inputs or effort usually lead to a majority of the result, outputs or rewards. A few things are important; most are not.

A good benchmark for this imbalance is provided by the 80/20 relationship: a typical pattern shows that 80% of outputs result from  20% of inputs; that 80% of consequences flow from 20% of causes; or that 80% of results come from 20% of effort. It reflects relationships in nature, which are an intricate mixture or order and disorder, or regularity and irregularity.


The 80/20 Principle involves a static breakdown of causes at any one time, as opposite to change over time. "The art of using the 80/20 Principle is to identify which way the grain of reality is currently running and exploit that as much as possible".

The 80/20 numbers are only a metaphor and a useful benchmark. The real relationship may be more or less unbalanced than 80/20. The 80/20 Principle asserts, however, that in most cases the relationship is very likely to be unbalanced and close to 80/20.

The 80/20 Principle is extremely versatile. "It can be profitably applied to any industry and any organization, any function within an organization and any individual job". It helps you identify all the forces beneath the surface, so that you can give maximum power to the most productive forces and stop the negative influences.




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You know that 80% of results are achieved by 20% of people, but keep in mind that 80% of people believe that they are those high-performing 20%.


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