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The 80/20 Rule

Wilfredo Pareto

Also as a follow-up to my last article I was asked why it seemed only a handful of people always carried the workload of a Lodge. This is not uncommon and is found in everyday life as well. It is commonly referred to as the 80/20 Rule or Pareto’s Principle

Vilfredo Pareto was an Italian economist who observed in 1897 that 80 percent of the land in England was owned by 20 percent of the population. Pareto’s theory thereby relates to the ratio of input to output; e.g.:

twenty percent of your effort produces 80 percent of your results.

From a time management perspective, it means that 20 percent of the people are normally responsible for producing 80 percent of the work.

As a manager or Worshipful Master it thereby becomes important to recognize your core 20 percent workers and concentrate your attention on them. It also becomes important to devise new means to squeeze out the remaining 20 percent of the work from the 80 percent who do not actively participate. This is not to suggest that the 80 percent doesn’t care about the Lodge, but that they simply have different priorities right now and may even be living far away from the Lodge. However, they should be periodically reminded that there is more to supporting a Lodge than just paying their annual dues.

With the 80/20 Rule in mind you must also be sensitive to a by-product resulting from it: petty jealousy. Since the 20 percent performs the work, they are thereby deserving of the accolades for performing it. Inevitably, it is not uncommon for small minded individuals from the 80 percent to feel slighted and jealous of those doing the work and receiving the recognition. Such petty jealously should be overlooked and the person forgiven, unless something more malicious is involved, such as character assassination of which there is no excuse. The manager must carefully squash this behavior before it has an adverse effect on your 20 percent. If not, the 20 percent worker will question why he is working so hard if he is only going to be the object of ridicule and humiliation. If your 20 percent begins to believe they are “Damned if they do, Damned if they don’t” in their assignments, then nothing will be produced and your 80 percent work effort will plummet.

The 80/20 Rule is an interesting phenomenon that every Worshipful Master must be cognizant of in order to effectively put the Craft to work with proper instruction for their labor.

Keep the Faith.

Freemasonry From the Edge

by W:.Tim Bryce, PM, MPS
timb001@phmainstreet.com
Palm Harbor, Florida, USA
“A Foot Soldier for Freemasonry”

NOTE: As with all of my Masonic articles herein, please feel free to reuse them in Masonic publications or re-post them on Masonic web sites (except Florida). When doing so, please add the following:

Article reprinted with permission of the author and FreeMason Information

TimBryce: Tim Bryce is a writer and management consultant who writes commentaries about the times we live in be it in the corporate world, the Masonic world, or our personal lives. His writings are well known on the Internet and are humorous, educational, and at times controversial. You won’t always agree with him, but Tim will definitely get you thinking. To read more of Tim’s columns, please visit: timbryce.com
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