The Power of Priorities

by Coach Ralph Berge
November 9, 2010

ActionCOACH of Akron/Canton is a business coaching firm in the Akron/Canton, Ohio region. Ralph Berge and Dennis Kelley coach business owners and executives to get real results in their business using proven systems applied in a customized way.

Priorities and time are always key issues. In my years of helping business owners to grow I’ve guided them to discover many things about themselves and their businesses. Here are two things that business people find very challenging: (1) thinking ahead and (2) doing things in order of importance.

Doing these two things makes the difference between success in business and just surviving.  And the same is true for all areas of our lives.

Leadership trainer and author John Maxwell says, “Thinking ahead and prioritizing responsibilities marks the major differences between a leader and a follower.”

Most people have heard of the Pareto Principle, more commonly known as the 80/20 Principle. Roughly stated this says that in most businesses 80% of your business comes from 20 % of your customers.

Here are other examples of the Pareto Principle:
Reading: 20 percent of the book contains 80 percent of the content.
Job: 20 percent of our work gives us 80 percent of our satisfaction.
Products: 20 percent of the products bring in 80 percent of the profits.
Picnic: 20 percent of the people will eat 80 percent of the food!

So… when it comes to your priorities, 20 percent of your priorities will give you 80 percent of your production… Ask yourself: “do I spend my time, energy, money and personnel on the top 20 percent of my priorities”?

When you focus on the top 20 percent, you are getting a 400% or fourfold return in productivity.  Think what this would mean in your business?

Every business person needs to understand the Pareto Principle as it applies to the areas of customers, team and leadership.

In the area of customers, it is vital to identify the 20 percent who account for 80 percent of your business. These are your “raving fans” and strategies must be put in place to care for them appropriately.

For your team, you must identify the top 20 percent producers. Spend 80 percent of your “people time” with these people to develop them to their full potential.

In leadership, take an honest look at the question, “What do I have to do that no one else can do?” Remember a leader can give up everything except final responsibility. You can decide whether you will be reactive or proactive when it comes to the use of your time. The question is not, “Will I be busy?” but “How will I invest my time?” It’s not “Will my calendar be full?” but “Who will fill my calendar?,” It’s not “Will I see people?,” but “Who will I see?”

Do this and watch your productivity and personal satisfaction rise to new heights!


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