You probably already know the basic premise of the 80/20 rule. 20% of something gets 80% of the use/result. There are plenty of examples, I won’t bore you with them. Lots of great people have influenced my thinking on 80/20: Dan Sullivan, Perry Marshall, Richard Koch, Dean Jackson & Sam Carpenter.
What I’m concerned with here is how efficient you are at working. I believe the 10-80-10 way of thinking about your work will give you untold hours back every day & re-energise you in your work. Because you’ll just be doing the tasks that you’re uniquely gifted to do & NOT the rest. The rest gets delegated (to people that love doing that work).
Your job as a leader (in your job/business) is two-fold: predict & delegate. This is how to do the delegate part even better than you do right now.
The first 10% is what you need to do to properly delegate the task. The 80% in the middle is the actual work itself & the last 10% is back to you to check the work & then ‘complete’ whatever it was that needed doing.
If you have a large, complicated task, then it can be broken down into 10-80-10 chunks:
You still only have to do 20% of the work – the other 80% is delegated.
Easy so far. Now to where the magic happens.
In other words that 80% that you delegate to a team member, can be an 10-80-10 task for them, with them doing just the first & last 10% chunks & sending the rest off to a competent (but less experienced & therefore cheaper) assistant (be that an intern, PA, virtual assistant etc).
Depending on the type of work, even that layer can be further delegated, with the 80% being automated using a rule based computer application – eg Excel macros, or a PHP script, or an AdWords script.
So you might end up with 4 layers:
Another way to look at this is:
So you’re doing the top layer (red), your team/2IC/assistant is doing the 2nd layer (green), a trained (but cheaper) person is doing the 3rd layer (eg intern or VA) (orange) & a computer is automating the 4th layer (white).
This is the method we’ve used to grow WebSavy rapidly over the past 4 years, doubling our revenues each year without massive increases in the size of the team.
We’re all just getting smarter about the work we each do & working on automating anything that we can assign rules to (such as moving data from one app to another, or creating the data visualisation images that the team need to do their strategic analysis of an AdWords account).
There are very very few tasks that can’t be split up this way
Please don’t misunderstand the point of this. It’s not about offshoring your work, or outsourcing to the Phillippines. It’s about having the ability to scale your business quickly.
The more you can split tasks up into these discrete chunks & get really clear on the outcome of each layer, the more you can scale.
You’re irreplaceable. But you can easily find other people to do the 3rd & 4th layers. There are lots of those people in the world.
If you have great project managers sitting on that second layer & taking your ideas and making them happen, then you’re no longer the bottleneck. No you can think it & make it happen. “Business at the speed of thought” as Bill Gates once wrote.
It may sound too good to be true. But practice it. Try this out. Today.
Pick a task & ask yourself “what do I really need to do & what can someone else do?” You should find that (given a proper brief) someone else can do at least 50% (hey, you’re just starting with this) & maybe even 80% or more of the work.
Then ask that person to think the same way & delegate some of their work to an assistant (jump on oDesk.com or freelancer.com or even fiverr.com if you don’t know anyone that can do that task yet). I guarantee there’s someone out there that would love to do the bulk of that work – be it writing, coding, creating a video, making a pivot table or just doing your work.
Use the 10-80-10 rule. It’ll change your (business) life!