While at the local Downtown Merchants Association membership meeting this morning, I was talking to Virgil. He said he was at a state government meeting a couple days ago and learned that 500 of the 700 total towns in Minnesota have a population of less than 5000 people. It’s an interesting statistic.
It reminded me of the 80/20 rule. The Pareto principle. The theory is that 80% of the output results from 20% of the input. Or, 80% of the results come from 20% of the causes. A few more examples:
- 80% of your sales come from 20% of your customers (20% come from 80%)
- 80% of the population owns 20% of the wealth (20% owns 80%)
- 80% of the towns in Minnesota have 20% of the population (20% have 80%)
This last one I wanted to check out. So I did a little looking.
I found out that 73% of population lives in the 20% most populated cities. 180 cities is 20% of 900. So 27% of the people live in 80% of the towns.
Total State Population in Minnesota: 5,457,000
Total population of the largest 20% of the cities (180 cities): 4,003,298
Total population of the smallest 80% of the cities (720 cities): 1,453,702
Often times the 80/20 rule is not exactly 80/20, as in this case. But principle theory exists almost everywhere you look. It’s a law of nature. Nature follows the rule. 80% of trees have 20% of leaves. 80% of the planets in our solar system make up 20% of the total size of all the planets. 20% of the lakes in Minnesota hold 80% of the water. It goes on and on.
Applied to more practical things 80/20 can be extremely useful. 80% of your employees generate 20% of your revenue. 20% generate 80%.
80% of the things you do every day at work account for 20% of the progress, or maybe revenue generation. 20% of the work accounts for 80%!
Which 20% of the things you do generate 80% of your revenue?
Which 20% of the things you do account for 80% of your happiness? Flip it around. 20% of the things you do account for 80% of your misery. 80% of the things you do account for 20% of your misery.
You can’t change the 80/20 rule. Like I said, it’s a law of nature. But you can adjust things to line up with it better. How about doing fewer of those tasks that bring 80% misery, and more of those tasks that bring 80% happiness. In business terms, try doing fewer time wasting things you spend 80% of your time doing that generates 20% of the results. And more of the 20% things that bring 80% of the results!
It’s such an interesting insight to be aware of. I’m sure you can think of more 80/20 scenarios in your life.
If you’d like to learn more about the 80/20 rule and how it can be used let me know. I’d be glad to talk about it with you!
Thanks for reading!