2016 Business Management
20% of What?
Dan, the responsible agent, couldn’t understand why he always seemed to have “too much month left at the end of his money.” He worked overtime every week building his business and wondered why he never seemed to get ahead. Dan believed he was also a very organized individual. He would make lists every day and check off all of the tasks he was able to accomplish. It was a good feeling knowing he was able to complete so many different tasks each day.
Like 90% of the agents in real estate, he was lost. He heard one of the other agents in his office use an expression that really hit home for Dan:
“The definition of insanity is to keep doing the same thing over and over again, and expect different results.”
Hearing that statement was the last straw for Dan. If he didn’t know what he needed to change to get different results, he needed to consult an expert. Dan knew that “all successful people are lifelong learners,” so he decided to attend a seminar on personal habits and productivity. The class would give him a good start on becoming more successful.
Most people believe if you’re able to get one good idea from a course or class you take, it was worth the time and money. Dan listened carefully to all of the information. To his amazement, at the end of the first day, the facilitator explained the concept of The Pareto Principle. 80% of all of the success you achieve in every part of your life, comes from just 20% of the tasks you complete. The challenge was focusing on the 20% activities, because the risk of failure with these activities is so much higher. The instructor gave an example of a day full of reading e-mails, picking up signs, attending a Broker Open House and studying market conditions. All are important tasks that are easy to check off a list, but none leads directly to money. The 20% activities, included making prospecting calls and getting as many face-to-face meetings with buyers and sellers. It was hard to focus on these activities because the risk of rejection or failure was so much higher.
Bells went off in Dan’s head as he realized that he had been so busy focusing on unproductive 80% activities, that he never got around to doing the 20% activities that were most likely to make him a success. Dan was also totally honest with himself when he admitted that he was uncomfortable with failure and rejection.
Dan, decided to make a list every day of the top 10 tasks that were all “20%’ers“, and to do the best to make every effort to accomplish all of them before becoming engrossed in the list of 80%’ers that weren’t going to make him money.
Wow! what a difference. The new approach worked so well that Dan couldn’t stay up with all of the new business he was generating. There were still many days where Dan would “stress out” because he wouldn’t get everything done, but that was a good problem to have, compared to not making much money and being stressed.
The moral of the story is simple, “Don’t spend so much time majoring in the minors, and minoring in the majors!” Identify the top 10 priorities every day and focus on completing that list before tackling the easier less productive lists.