Strategies for Using the Pareto Principle

Food. This image is CC0!

Did you read my post about the Pareto Principle? Today I want to discuss how you can derive strategies for change from it.

Whatever you want to change, I suggest you chose one of the following three basic strategies.

  • Minimum effort or “Get going and act”: Go for the 3% of effort that produces you more than half of the result. This strategy should be your first choice if you are starting to get acquainted with Lean Self. Furthermore, when something seems very difficult, investing those 3% does not seem to be such a big burden, so the chances are better that you give it a try.
  • Medium effort or “Good enough”: Aim at the 50% of the effort, which produce 90% of the desired effect. This strategy is the preferred choice for activities you are already quite good at. It reduces over-production and over-processing while still reaching acceptable results.
  • Maximum effect or “Go the last mile”: If you need a real high quality result, aim at 96% benefit at 80% of the effort. If you are working in parallel on more than one activity, only one of these should follow the maximum effect strategy.

The Pareto Principle is also very useful to sort out your priorities. When you have two or more options to improve, first try the option which will have the most effect with the least effort.

If you do not want that this opportunistic principle becomes a bad habit, tackle a difficult tasks from time to time.

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