The 80/20 Rule

the-80-20-rule-240x172The Pareto Principle, better know as the 80/20 rule sounds like a mathematical formula and in some ways it is but don’t fret, this isn’t a lesson on statistics. The rule came from an Italian economist, Vilfredo Pareto, who stated that 80% of the Italian income was earned by 20% of the Italian population.

What this means is that 80% of your outcomes come from 20% of your inputs. To put this another way, 20% of your activities equate to 80% of your happiness. Instead of focusing on income, we will focus on your overall well-being or happiness factor.

To prove this theory, look at the distribution of wealth and lately with the shrinking of the middle class, this is even more apparent that a small portion of the population controls the majority of the economy. Look at business, the top earners are a small percentage of companies and earn the largest portion of income. And if you look at your own habits, you most likely spend most of your income on few things like your mortgage, car payment, food and you probably spend most of your time with a few people each day.

So how can you use the 80/20 rule to maximize your outputs?  Let’s look at John Maxwell. He talks about the fact that he is only good at a few things. Therefore, he doesn’t waste his time with those things he cannot do or does not want to do. By focusing on what you are good at – those few things; and not waste time on those things you are not good at, you maximize your efficient self and are able to improve upon and increase your skillset on what you are good at and what you love to do.

Malcolm Gladwell speaks of how to become an expert; the common thread is spending 10,000 hours perfecting one’s craft. If you spread yourself across the board, become a Jack of all trades, master of none, then your efficiency rate decreases and no longer will the 80/20 rule work in your favor.

Take a moment and consider what you love and what you are really good at and then list out those things that cause you to waste time and decrease your efficient self. If you are able, hire someone to do those tasks that fall on that list. Share duties with your children, spouse, roommate, significant other, co-worker, team members etc. Trade your time and skillset for theirs. You will find that focusing on those 20% tasks, the 80% yield will be worthwhile.

Where are you investing your best 20%?

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9 Must Know Tips for Military Transition

I recently saw an article entitled, “Thank You For Your Military Service — Now Here Are 9 Reasons Why I Won’t Hire You”.9 Transition Tips

This is such a great article for anyone planning on military transition to pursue a career in the civilian marketplace.  If you are transitioning or considering transitioning in the future, please read the entire article here, if not please pass this on to someone you know who is in this situation.  This is some of the best advice that I have seen out there.

I will probably cover some of these points in an “Unplugged” episode of the Lead Like a Marine Podcast.

The 9 reasons:

  1. You Can’t (or Won’t) Accept That You’re Starting Over
  2. You Believe You’re Unique (Just Like Every Other Transitioning Person That Day)
  3. Your Resume Is Longer Than the CEO of Our Company’s (or Shorter Than a Recent College Graduate’s)
  4. You Didn’t Proofread Your Resume
  5. You Don’t Have a LinkedIn Profile (Or, Even Worse, It’s Not Complete)
  6. You Think Social Media Is For Kids or Sharing War Stories
  7. You Didn’t Prepare For The Interview
  8. You Wrote a Thank You Note (But Only to Say Thank You)
  9. You Don’t Know What You Want to Do

Read the article!

If you are transitioning or are planning on transitioning, please tune in to the Lead Like a Marine Podcast, where we interview those who have successfully transitioned.  Great stories of lessons learned and tips and tricks to help make transition less hectic.  Please listen in and pass the link along to others who are proudly serving out great country.

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7 Ways Leaders Maintain Composure… According to Grandma

I recently saw a headline on Forbes.com…  It read, “7 Ways Leaders Maintain Their Composure in Difficult Times“.

7 Ways Leaders Maintain Composure_According to Grandma

What Would Grandma Do?

The title intrigued me so I clicked and dove in.

The first line in the article said, “Leaders need to show more composure than ever before in the workplace”.  WAIT… WHAT?  Now my dander was up so I had to proceed.

Let me give you the gist of the article, then list the “7 Ways”.  After that I will pontificate.

More composure than ever before

So the reason leaders maintain composure, according to the article:

  • To deal with increased market demands
  • To handle intensifying competitive factors that surround us
  • To minimize uncertainty
  • To make people feel more safe and secure
  • To see adversity through the lens of opportunity

Here are the “7″:

  1. Don’t allow your emotions to get in the way
  2. Don’t take things personally
  3. Keep a positive mental attitude
  4. Remain fearless
  5. Respond decisively
  6. Take accountability
  7. Act like you have been there before

Please don’t get me wrong, these are all good things and very important.  However, they are kinda “wordy” and “corporate”.  These things go nicely in a college business class or from stage at a corporate event.  But, why can’t we just do what our grandparents taught us to do?

What would Grandma say?

My grandmother was a very wise lady.  Widowed early in her marriage, she taught public school for 32 years and single handedly raised two sons in a small town in south central Texas.  She earned her bachelors degree then her masters at the University of Texas.  She never sat through any corporate meetings nor did she ever attend any management seminars taught by a guru from out of town.  Yet she did have her own “7 Ways”  to maintain composure during difficult times.

There were a lot more than seven, but for continuity sake, let’s just deal with seven.

  1. Settle down!  Just calm down and let’s deal with what ever is making you cry.
  2. You need to develop a thicker skin son.  It doesn’t matter what “they” say.  Maybe they are having a bad day, don’t take it so personally.
  3. Well with that attitude, I’m not surprised that you can’t do it.  Can’t never could, but you age a Gustafson and you CAN!
  4. There’s nothing to be afraid of, the Good Lord is watching over you, he and I will protect you.  Keep your head up and face what ever comes your way.
  5. You need to make a decision now, we don’t have all day… enough said!
  6. Hey, you are responsible for your actions.  No one can “make” you do anything.  Take responsibility.
  7. Look, things will happen in your life that will shake your confidence.  Pull yourself up by your bootstraps and do what you have to do.

I know that everyone didn’t grow up with a grandmother as wise as mine, but wouldn’t it be refreshing if one of these “big time” magazine writers would just put it into plain old “grandma” language once in a while.

Now, as to the reason that I decided to write this in the first place…  Remember the first line in the article, the one that got my dander up?  ”Leaders need to show more composure than ever before in the work place”  Nonsense!  Leaders have ALWAYS and will ALWAYS need to maintain composure in the workplace and in the street, and in their car, and at home and EVERYWHERE else they go.  And for that matter, if you don’t consider yourself a “leader”, you still need to maintain composure everywhere you go….  Why?   Well because Grandma said so!  That’s why!

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Lead Like a Marine Podcast… is LIVE

Stop the Presses!

The Lead Like a Marine Podcast is launching now LIVE!!  Here’s a Link… Please take a few minutes to Subscribe and Download!

Marines sharing real life experiences as leaders in the Marine Corps and leaders in the civilian world… in support of Marines transitioning from active duty.

I am currently seeking Veterans who would be willing to share their transition story with their fellow Marine Brothers.  Please contact me using the “Contact” link at the top of this page.

Please join us on LinkedIn!!  Semper Fi

Lead Like a Marine Podcast

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