Friday, 10 September 2010

I often struggle to understand why our collective experience, knowledge and intelligence hasn't sorted out so many of the problems we face as a society...

I was reminded today about the 80:20 rule as we struggle to understand how we manage the challenges that lie ahead with the spending review. In case you don't know what I am talking about, in 1906, the Italian economist Pareto noticed that 80 percent of the land in Italy was owned by 20 percent of the people. He went on to notice that this rule seemed to apply to all sorts of other things. This concept is known as the "Pareto Principle," or the "The 80:20 Rule."

People tell me that wherever you look the 80:20 rule applies, so how do we use the 80/20 rule to refine, focus and develop our work where we have the most impact and effect. If we are facing such large reductions in the budget, can we strip out the bits that are the most unproductive. We clearly need to focus our energies and efforts on the things that really make a difference and eradicate the irrelevant, the obsolete and the things that simply get in the way. Can the 80:20 Rule help? Why not:
  1. Pick an area of your work where you feel there is an opportunity to strip out and refocus.
  2. Try identifying the activities that are having the most impact on outcomes.
  3. Find ways to spend more time on these activities.
  4. Find ways to eliminate the other things that are getting in the way.
We all need to think about how we streamline our work to focus on the things that really make a difference and create intelligent systems and brilliant teams around our wonderful learning places. Intelligent systems that reinforce and support a culture based on trust, respect, equality, inclusion and excellence. Brilliant teams that are passionate, committed and determined to make a difference for every child and particularly those who need us most.

Reading through the history and Pareto's work he also suggested that human beings are not, for the most part, motivated by logic and reason but by sentiment which explains a lot!

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