I was at a networking meeting last week.
One of the elements of the meeting was that we were split into small groups at different tables to brainstorm on how we could improve the network.
Each small group spent 20 minutes brainstorming.
Then each table in sequence, through their spokesperson, summarised their findings.
We were the last table.
When it came to us, our spokesperson Ana said (truthfully) that all our ideas had been covered by the other tables. She was right to not trot out the same stuff other people had said. That saved time and prevented boredom.
Ok – she did add one idea that she and I had discussed while the other tables’ spokespeople were talking. But you get the picture – everything we at our table had discussed had already been covered.
This was a predictable outcome. It reflects the 80:20 rule at work.
Sometimes called the 80:20 principle.
Sometimes called the Pareto Principle (after an Italian economist).
Simply put : 80% of the results come from 20% of the causes.
If you’re familiar with the 80:20 concept then that’s a start. If you leverage its power in your business then that’s better.
If you’re not familiar with it – then, in general terms, I can think of nothing I’d recommend more for you in your business than to become familiar with it and then leverage it.
So – how can the 80:20 rule be leveraged in a context like last night?
Note that this is very much a glass more than half full question. A lot of good ideas were generated. The network will improve if we implement those ideas.
Split the room into 5 groups. Each group then has 20% of the participants in it.
80% of what the groups come up with will be the same.
So have them consider different questions or different angles.
The result? You’ll harness 80% of ideas about 5 different issues rather than, max, 100% of the ideas about 1 issue.
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