How to Break the 80 20 Rule

According to the 80 20 Rule, 20% of your team is carrying 80% of the load. If that’s the case, 80% could do substantially more. Have you come to accept the Pareto Principle as a given?

Of course, your performance management structure counts these slackers to make for a nice bell curve. So maybe it’s easier to just let it go. If the 80 20 rule is true, you could be leading better. You should be leading better.
 Buck Pareto.
Break the 80 20 Rule.
Engage the rest of the team.
Smoke your results.

Debate with HR on performance distribution on the back-end.

5 Ways to Beat the 80 20 Odds

1. Dig deep into the top 20%

  • Understand the source of their commitment
  • Recruit your rock stars to inspire the rest of the team

2. Create a Passionate Rally Cry

  • Connect everyone to the vision
  • Put everyone in the game
  • Do the math, determine what you need EVERY person to do.
  • Communicate what you need from every member of the team.

3. Understand What Works

  •  Observe best practices
  •  Look for specific nuances
  •  Share stories
  • Model and Celebrate behaviors

4. Spend Time With the Outliers

  • Identify the skeptics
  • Understand their fears
  • Observe their behaviors
  • Celebrate turnarounds
  • Turn skeptics into teachers

5. Develop Skills and Confidence

The Tension Connection

Tight shoulders. Strained relationships. Visions not yet achieved. Public disclosure of private struggle. Tension is exhausting unless, It’s invigorating.

What’s A Tension Map?

After reading Steven’s Snyder’s new book, Leadership and the Art of Struggle, I wanted to know more about his theory of positive and destructive tension. So we connected to talk about vision, experiences, maps and tension.

My key take away: The right pressures in the right combinations create positive Flow.

Steven describes several sources of tension which he maps into quadrants. We experience “tensions of tradition” when we work to challenge and disrupt our team’s patterns. We may feel the “tensions of aspiration” when we have conflicting visions or goals for the future. These can be good, or the source of deep struggle.

I asked Steve to share more just how can those tight shoulders lead to “flow” What would I want my map to look like?

“Maps which show moderate to moderate-high levels of aspirational tension, lower levels of Tradition Tension and very low levels of Relationship or Identity Tension are which i would call “Flow”. Tension maps which show low levels of all tensions are not producing enough tension to motivate high levels of achievement.
With respect to higher levels of tension. This is a struggle. There is not an “ideal” type of struggle. everyone struggles differently. The point is that the tension map can tell you what to do about it.”

Make Your Own Map

If you’re curious as to how this all works, you can get in on a free pilot of Steve’s online assessment, Adaptive Leader Profile. You go online, answer some questions about yourself and your situation, and he will send you back a free map and interpretation. The only caveat is that you need to wait until he get’s enough data to ensure validity (hey, it’s a pilot).

I took it, and am looking forward to the report. Like you, I’ve got plenty of pressure worth mapping.

For great synopsis and overviews of Snyder’s book checkout these posts by Jon Mertz or Bill George. Or download a free chapter.

The Power of Great Expectations

It was March over a decade ago. I had just finished singing Amazing Grace and was headed down from the choir loft back to my pew. My Dad began the eulogy for my Grandma, who had died that week. He looked at his brothers and sisters in the first row and said, “I am thankful for expectations.”

Me too.

Sometimes we are told to expect less. Don’t listen. Some of my biggest successes have come just after I was warned to “lower my expectations.”

I was told not to expect…

  • to sell that product in my rural market
  • to get that job without direct experience
  • “them” to care as much as me
  • to make an impact too quickly
  • that kind of motivation to work in a union environment
  • the VP to wear that costume
  • those famous writers to respond to my email

Go beyond the expected.

Expect More

For Yourself

Expect bigger. It’s not too late. Chose the right influencers.

Thank others for their great expectations.

For Your Team

Teams thirst for challenge – not just “stretch” goals.

Expect more. Tell them what you expect. Expect magic.
Expect your team to BE better, not just achieve more.

For Your Family

Oh boy, here’s where it gets tricky. So much self-help literature says to let go of expectations. I’ll leave those posts to other bloggers. Like my Dad, I am grateful for expectations and possibilities.

Expect excellence, nurture talents, forgive failures, learn together.

How do you create powerful expectations?

Let’s Grow Leaders as Shared In Other Growing Scenes (a Sunday Supplement)

As a “growing” leader I am always inspired by the work of other leaders and thinkers. The online community stretches me beyond my own experiences and thinking. I engage in several leadership tribes and bring their thoughts and challenges back to you and the Let’s Grow Leaders Community. It’s fun to stir those pots as well. Here’s what’s up and what’s coming in some of these growing scenes.

Let’s Grow Leaders Beyond Borders (Guest Posts and Other Engagement)

This Friday, I was featured on SmartBlog on Leadership on one of our favorite topics, Trust and Transparency.

Read More from Let’s Grow Leaders on SmartBlog, Can “Those People” Be Trusted

A quick excerpt: 

Do you spend more time thinking about why people can’t be trusted or why they can?

When planning large-scale change, or developing a communication strategy, do you ever find yourself focusing on the lowest common denominator? How much time do you spend thinking about why people can’t be trusted? Do you worry about what could go wrong if some faceless person does or says something stupid with the information you provide? Do you stress about what will happen if “those people” get a hold of the information prematurely? Read More

Volunteering and Leadership?

If you missed, Why Volunteering Makes You a Better Leader (Also on SmartBlog), I would love to hear your stories of how volunteering has informed your leadership. This has been my most socially shared topic to date.

Yoga and Leadership, Really?

I am an active Instigator in the Lead Change Group, and this week I stir up more thinking on recognition. Last week I wrote on leadership and yoga, in Lead Asana

Please Join the Ongoing Conversation

I write for you. Please share what’s challenging you, and I will work to spark conversation about it. Please drop me a note with what’s on your mind how is leadership hard for you? I also stir up conversation on my Let’s Grow Leaders Facebook Page. I am currently using Facebook to collect ideas on a 2013 rebuttal to The 1943 Guide To Hiring Women. Would love for you to add your comments on Facebook. I will pull our collective thinking together in a future post.

The best part of this scene is your comments: I am delighted by your thoughts and ideas as you comment on posts. My goal is to create a safe community for exploration and conversation. Bloggers:  I am always looking for ideas to enhance the Let’s Grow Leaders Conversation. If you ever read one of my posts and are interested in including a link to your post in the comments PLEASE DO! The more ideas, the more we all grow.

Coming Soon: Let’s Grow Leaders Frontline Festival

I have been overwhelmed with the response for the first Let’s Grow Leaders Frontline Festival, which will premiere March 15th. Please be sure to log in on Friday to hear thought leaders around the world give their advice to frontline leaders.

Tomorrow’s post on Let’s Grow Leaders, In Defense of the Imperfect Boss, was inspired by an over 300 comment discussion in the Harvard Business Review LinkedIn Group Should make for great conversation.

(Heck, why not just enter your email address and subscribe, so you don’t miss any of this.)

Namaste.