Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Pareto Principle and Human Resource Management

Book Review

The 80/20 Principle: The Secret of Achieving More with Less by Richard Koch

(Reviewed by Vikram Karve)

The Pareto Principle (also known as the 80-20 rule) states that for many phenomena, 80% of the consequences stem from 20% of the causes.

Richard Koch takes a fresh look at the 80/20 principle and finds that the basic imbalance observed by Pareto way back in 1906 can be found in almost every aspect of modern life even today.

In this book, the author creatively and ingeniously extrapolates the Pareto Principle and discovers that it applies throughout our lives in every thread of it.

The 80/20 principle is relevant in managing time, work, people, emotions, friendships, love, marriage, personal health and relationships.

Take relationships. Is it not true that 20 per cent of the people we deal with give us 80 per cent of our happiness?

What can you do to spend more quality time with these 20 per cent happiness givers?

Count on these people. They are your key friends, the 20 percent who contribute 80 percent of happiness and add value to the quality of your life.

The book is in four parts.

Part One (Overture) introduces the principle, is a bit analytical but interesting and tells us how to think the 80/20 way.

Part Two (Corporate Success need not be a mystery) discusses the application of the principle to the business management and corporate domains.

The meat of the book is in Part Three (Work Less, Earn and Enjoy More) where Richard Koch explores application of the 80/20 theory in a number of ways to diverse aspects of life.

Chapter 10 titled Time Revolution is superb, and I can vouch for the fact that concepts like being unconventional and eccentric in the use of your time and high-value and low-value uses of time are really effective as I have incorporated them into my life with great success.

Of all the things you do during your day, only 20 percent really matter. Those 20 percent high-value uses of time produce 80 percent of your results and happiness.

Identify and focus on those things and make sure you make optimal high value use of time to achieve a harmonious balance between your work, home, social, self and other aspects of life.

Chapter 13 titled Intelligent and Lazy delves on the application of the Von Manstein Matrix.

General Von Manstein identified four types of officers in the German Officer Corps of the army.

First, there are the lazy, stupid ones. He suggests that they be left alone as they do no harm.

Second, are the hard-working, intelligent ones. These are excellent staff officers who ensure every detail is accurate.

Third are the hard-working, stupid ones. These, according to him, are a menace and must be fired at once because they only create irrelevant work for everybody.

And finally there are the lazy, intelligent ones. [The 80/20 types?]. These select few are suited for the highest office.

The fourth and last part of the book (Crescendo) explains the success and failure of various approaches in social, government and economic issues with the 80/20 principle as an ever present thread.

The book is readable, educational and interesting.

The secret of a happy and fulfilled life is not difficult.

The book shows you how to apply the 80/20 principle to focus on your best 20 percent in each aspect of your life and thereby enhance your quality of life and elevate your plane of living.

I suggest you keep the book on your table and refer to it from time to time.

The 80/20 Principle should serve as a daily reminder to focus 80 percent of your time and energy on that 20 percent that is really important.

Experiment, have fun, apply the Pareto Principle in various aspects and facets of your life wherever feasible, and use it wisely.

See for yourself how the quality of your life improves, you achieve a harmonious balance between your work life, home life and social life and you feel happy, tranquil and fulfilled.

It is indeed a captivating book. Read it. You will certainly benefit from it.


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