Narrative connections

The Twenty

The Twenty

The Pareto principle—or 80/20 rule—asserts that a small amount of input or effort leads to the majority of results. So, most companies understand that 80% of their profits or revenue are generated by 20% of their clients. It also holds that a smaller amount of employees carry the larger burden for progress. The moral to the story for any business, organization or team would be to nurture and mimic the few—The Twenty—that get it right and then try to share it with others and multiply the effect.

If you think about it, the principle is somewhat counterintuitive. We like to think that each variable has equal weight in our lives but actually a great imbalance exists. As we start to emerge from the ridiculously stubborn pandemic, leaders will begin to analyze the resources that have weak effects and those that have powerful impacts. And a process of substitution will begin for the less significant resources.

Some leaders are relishing the chance to do things differently going forward. The crisis has given them a chance to look at things through a new lens and see opportunities for their organizations to be part of progress rather than a forced return to the way things used to be. In other words, The Twenty will not squander this window of opportunity.

New ways of learning and communicating have emerged. A renewed sense of empathy and discussion has been incubated. And there are a great many of us who have decided to put down our devices and breath in the world. The hope is that we are reuniting with what is real and finding a new path of humanness. Maybe, just maybe, we aspire to be part of The Twenty.

As Walt Whitman and my new hero, Ted Lasso, say, “Be curious. Not judgmental.” This is a time for that small percentage of people to share their passion for growth and not sit back and critique. The hard charging Twenty are the ones that will embrace the circumstances of the moment and push forward. The other 80% will remain cautious or actively resistant to change. The Twenty will take the profound lessons learned from this huge disruption and make something while the others will simply try to get through the day.

Many of our businesses encourage repetition and empower the status quo. They feel like overcoming the inertia may be even more difficult than beating the novel coronavirus. But, not The Twenty. Nope. They realized that they needed to learn from—not just survive—the crisis. They knew, instinctively, that a good crisis could not go to waste.

Now, we can spend an inordinate amount of time digesting blog posts, tweets and YouTube videos about our current predicament. Or, we can take a page from The Twenty and listen and share ideas for a brighter future. Spending time lamenting has gotten boring. The constancy of bitching and moaning about how things got so bad is neither productive nor appealing. In fact, The Eighty that spend their time moaning about what is wrong are sure to repel The Twenty.

It is time to let The Twenty do their thing. They will lead us to the light and they will find the new opportunities that clearly exist amidst our collective discomfort. They will reverse engineer things to find solutions and create new pathways to enrichment. So, before defaulting back to comfortable norms, let’s join them and throw out the baggage that is no longer effective for any of us. Let’s be comfortable being uncomfortable by following the rule of The Twenty.

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Mark Potter

Founder / Consultant

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