The Idea: Artist, musician and entrepreneur Dr. Dre recently shared that after 10 years of working on a musical project, he decided to toss it. He explained that it simply “was not good,” and instead focused on his newly released album, Compton. He decided to focus on what was relevant and important rather than what would water down his impressive musical catalogue. It was also one of Steve Jobs mantras – “Focus and simplicity. Simple can be harder than complex: You have to work hard to get your thinking clean to make it simple. But it’s worth it in the end because once you get there, you can move mountains.”
Most activities and meetings don’t assist you in moving mountains; they stagnate, decelerate and create growth slowdowns. John Kenneth Galbraith was prophetic when he quipped, “Meetings are indispensable when you don’t want to do anything.” Sadly, most projects, meetings and base activities need to be neutralized, because they are not part of the critical few steps that matter.
My friend, entrepreneur and truth-seeker Perry Marshall, has spent the last 10 years researching, studying and applying the principles embedded in Pareto’s 80/20 principle. He conveys in his book 80/20 Sales and Marketing that “We’re all tempted to waste our time trying to please all of our customers instead of the most lucrative ones. We are all conditioned to always respond to the stimulus around us. So if you obey the 80/20 rule, you are going always to feel as though you are ignoring something — because you are.”
Marshall reminds us “All customers are not equal. Far from it. Some earn you an amazingly disproportionate amount of money, many make you a little bit of money, and some even waste your time. With the last group, you lose money selling anything to them at all.”
- How do you double down on the top 20 percent of your customers, yielding 80 percent of your success?
- How do you give more responsibility and freedom to the top 20 percent of leaders delivering 80 percent of the sales growth?
- How do you eliminate or create processes to neutralize the 20 percent of tasks, creating 80 percent of the corporate heartburn?
- How do you neutralize the 20 percent of people creating 80 percent of the headaches in your business?
- How do you simplify the core 20 percent of your business challenges that deliver 80 percent of the service challenges?
Not all customers are equal and not all initiatives deserve your full attention. What meetings, ideas, projects, customers and people need for your full attention?