The 80/20 Rule

In the early 1900s, Vilfredo Pareto, an Italian engineer-economist-sociologist, developed what he called the “80/20 rule.” His research indicated that in a business, 20 percent of the items accounted for 80 percent of the business and that roughly 20 percent of the population controlled roughly 80 percent of its wealth.

Since then, others have incorrectly stated, “Twenty percent of the workforce contributes 80 percent of the results, and 20 percent of the sales force produces 80 percent of the sales.”

In most cases, this is not true. At The Zig Ziglar Corp. in one year, 20 percent of our salespeople produced 25 percent of the business and 80 percent of our sales force produced 75 percent of our business. In addition, our lowest-producing sales person produced 57 percent as much business as our top producer.

This validates the fact that he is an extremely valuable, loved, respected employee. He served his clients well and made himself and the company a profit. As a result, we treat him with the same courtesy, respect and dignity that we show all the other salespeople. In short, he’s a valuable employee and a first-class individual.

This is an important point because in any organization, those who feel they are in the lower 80 percent think they’re not valued or capable, and they will be discouraged and face a more likely chance of failing.

Common sense dictates that a general application of the 80/20 rule simply does not work. No factory could exist, no hospital could operate and no office could function if 20 percent of the employees did 80 percent of the work. There are two other areas where the rule might work: namely, that 20 percent of our customers will produce 80 percent of our business and less than 20 percent of the employees will produce 80 percent of the creative ideas.

Major point: Treat everyone like they are top-drawer and show them respect and courtesy, and you’ll be amazed at the number who will respond to your expectations and produce wonderful results. Take that approach, and I’ll see you at the top!

To find out more about Zig Ziglar and read features by other Creators Syndicate writers and cartoonists, visit the Creators Syndicate Web page at Subscribe to Zig Ziglar’s free email newsletter through [email protected].

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