What 20% moves the needle?

We know that roughly 20% of action produces 80% of results – the Pareto Principle, the 80/20 rule, or the law of the vital few.

But founders live and work in a world where it’s hard to tell the difference between noise and signal. How can you identify what 20% of your actions you should prioritize? It’s easy to say “identify the things that bring desired outcomes” – but how do you do that as a founder?

– You regularly need time without distractions to think clearly. Find it. You’re not going to identify the 20% while listening to a Zoom call and watching notifications pop up.
– Look at your recent progress – can you trace where that came from? Data is your friend, and make sure you consider every kind. Be open to what you find.
– Rationalization isn’t your friend, nor is his sidekick fear. Those two together will lead you down that path under the sign “What if . . . “ You can’t do everything, and trying to really makes the 20% suffer.

As one of my old coaches used to say, “Practice doesn’t make perfect, practice makes permanent.”

You’ll find the 20% faster the more you approach what you do regularly and with structure.