A rule of thumb is that we
spend about 80% of our time on 20% of our results and 20% of our time on 80% of
our results. It is never quite that
accurate but, unless we take action, it is often painfully reflective the true
You can apply it to almost any
area of your business (and your personal life) and you will be surprised by how
often the rule rings true.
Which means that 20% of your
team is getting 80% of your results whilst the other 80% gets only 20% of the
It also means you spend 80% of
your time on the 80% of your team (i.e. 20% of the results).
Why is that always the
case? Every manager has had that
employee who just drains them every day and creates problems without ever
getting results. And every manager
devotes a large part of their day to fixing that mess and trying to improve the
Meanwhile the genuine stars are left to get on with it.
This is a major problem in team building because the bad employees seldom improve and the good ones always leave.
The picture attached illustrates
a simple management tool that is highly effective in helping us decide what
actions to take with our employees.
On the vertical axis you chart the employee’s skills and on the horizontal axis you chart their skills and attitude (in relation to what the company requires).
You then get 4 categories of employee, which we will cover briefly.
Good skills with the right attitude and values:
Your stars. They get the job done and they do it in the
Action: spend more time with them, praise them and promote them where
Poor skills but with the right attitude and values:
You probably like these team
members, they do things in the right way and don’t cause problems with their
attitude but their mistakes do.
Action: train and develop them.
They have the potential to be your next stars so make sure an official
development plan is carried out. Set a
reasonable time limit on their development; this is only fair to both
Poor skills with the wrong attitude and values:
Why do we hire these
people? Unfortunately we do! As well as making mistakes, these people refuse
to admit to them and cause us untold problems in the process.
Action: give them an ultimatum; improve or leave. Assuming
their attitude and values do not become aligned, these are the people to
quietly usher away from the company.
Good skills with the wrong attitude and values:
The biggest problem category
for managers. These people cause
problems with their behaviour but they get results so they are allowed to get
away with things that others are not.
They cause massive resentment
in the team.
Action: fire them publicly.
Nothing is more important than your company culture and it needs to be
protected. Publicly removing these people
(i.e. so that everyone in the company knows they have gone and why) will
re-inforce the culture and you will be amazed at the increased performance from
everyone else after they have gone.
Ultimately we choose where we
spend our time with our teams. The more
time you can spend praising and boosting your best people the more likely they
will stay and provide a good example to those people who do not yet have the
skills to produce their results.
If you are currently spending 20% of your time with them, aim for 30% next week and go from there. The 80/20 law is very powerful and when applied to your team you can multiply your results very quickly.