05 Sep Managing your time, energy, and resources strategically
How to stop being tactical and apply the 80/20 principle to increase your productivity
IMMEDIATELY and exponentially
Very few are strategic in handling their scarce resources
You must live in a monastery if you’re not struggling to manage your time, energy, and finances. If you don’t run out of time and resources, at least once in a while…
More than ever, in the 21st C market and workplaces, we’ve to do a lot with limited time and other scarce resources. We can’t succeed unless we’re lean and effective in managing these resources individually and collectively…
Sadly, many people and institutions remain tactical and unable to manage their scarce resources to achieve extraordinary results with limited resources.
Paradoxically, many of us don’t stop and question our approaches and make changes to deal with this pressure. We keep on doing the same things again and again expecting different results. You know the saying, ‘The definition of insanity is doing the same things, over and over again, but expecting different results.’
Only those individuals, teams, organizations, and communities that handle these invaluable resources strategically are the ones that are productive and enjoying abundance amid scarcity. They’re strategic and resourceful…
In which camp do you find yourself?
Regardless of where you may be regarding managing your scarce resources, you are here for a good treat.
In this blog, I’d like to give you a simple and straightforward tool anyone can apply that may improve your productivity exponentially. It enables you to make a shift from tactical to strategic.
The 80/20 principle
You might have already used or, at least, heard about the 80/20 principle.
This rule is based on general observations such as:
- 80 % of the crimes are committed by 20% of the criminals.
- 80% of the diseases are caused by 20% of microorganisms.
- 80% of auto accidents are caused by 20% of the drivers.
How do these data apply to your personal, career, and business lives? Here you go:
- 80% of your results are produced by 20% of your tasks and projects.
- 80% of your outputs are generated by 20% of your people (team members, clients, and partners).
- 80% of your revenues come from 20% of your products and services.
By the way, the actual number doesn’t matter. It could be:
- 90/10, or
The key is finding those ‘minority’ tasks, projects, portfolios, and people (5, 10, 20, 25%) delivering the overwhelming majority results and then investing most of our scarce resources such as finance, time, and energy on these.
Many leaders struggle to apply the 80/20 rule to people
Have you seen? I have been including ‘people’ into the equation. Many leaders are okay applying the 80/20 rule to other stuff. However, they stumble when it comes to applying it to people. With good intentions, they act tactically and fail to differentiate between their high performers and the average ones.
A few years ago, while we were still in COVID lockdown, I remember facilitating a webinar for a private military contractor. They invited us to facilitate a dynamic workshop among the top decision-makers on shifting from tactical to strategic.
They were okay to apply the 80/20 principle to all things except people.
I remember the CEO protesting: “In this place, we don’t discriminate against people!!! We treat everyone with equal attention, energy, and commitment, whatever the cost.”
This motto would have been great if the organization was a charity or a church.
Since I serve at the pleasure of our clients, I didn’t push back hard. I clarified my point and emphasized that I wasn’t suggesting discriminating against anyone. I contextualized how the 80/20 principle applies when investing scarce resources on team members, clients, and partners, and MOVED ON…
For your info, the rest of the executives seemed to get it. They were nodding. They didn’t see why they shouldn’t apply the principle to their people, clients, and partners. Their questions were about how to apply the 80/20 rule when dealing with people. And I gave them some practical examples.
Let’s give credit to the CEO. The boss understood what I was saying. The pushback was to do with one of their values. They consider themselves as people-centric.
Acknowledging the CEO’s concern, I said: “Your reservation is understandable. However, you can apply the principle while still remaining people-centric.”
I further explained: “I wasn’t implying ignoring or neglecting 80% of your people and clients, let alone ‘discriminating.’ I suggested identifying the major producers of your outputs, revenues, and results and rewarding them by dedicating at least 80% of your scarce resources to these high performers, loyal clients, and strategic partners.”
I then closed the discussion by noting: “By the way, you can treat people nicely and kindly when interacting with them 100% of the time. Besides, you still have 20% of your resources to spend on the rest of your people to meet their needs while still dedicating the 80% scarce resources to people who are well deserving.”
The CEO felt a little better. We moved on to cover the rest of the material…
If you’re still struggling to apply the 80/20 rule to people, remember you’ll never have team members, clients, and partners who contribute evenly. It doesn’t happen:
1. A small portion of your people are high performers.
2. A few of your clients are high-ticket buyers from whom you generate most of your revenue.
3. Very few of your strategic partners are all in and shouldering significant responsibilities to advance your common cause and interest.
Once you realize these facts, applying the 80/20 principle to people won’t be that hard. It makes sense…
When leaders become tactical, they neglect these realities. They invest their scarce resources in ALL, even if it doesn’t make business sense.
On the other hand, successful leaders, teams, organizations, and communities take care of their best contributors to sustain results and, in turn, take care of the entire team and organization.
If you don’t take care of your best to continue to over-deliver, sooner or later, you won’t stay competitive and relevant. And at the end of the day, you may not take care of the rest and the greater good…
The question is: Do you want to spend 100% of your scarce resources on 100% of your team members, clients, and partners? If you say yes, good luck to you…
Time: the scarcest resource
Peter Drucker, the father of modern management, once said: “Time is the scarcest resource, and unless it is managed, nothing else can be managed.”
He is right. Time is:
- Punctual. It continues to tick, tick, and tick without failing. That is why we have this popular saying: “Time and tide wait for no one.”
- Neutral. Time doesn’t discriminate regardless of one’s culture, gender, age, race, and ethnicity. The great philosopher C.S. Lewis once said, “The future is something which everyone reaches at the rate of 60 minutes an hour, whatever he does, whoever he is.”
- Perishable. Time can’t be preserved. It can’t be saved, borrowed, or lent.
- Non-renewable. Once time is gone, it is gone forever. Use it or lose it!
If time isn’t managed well, we can’t manage other resources well. All other resources including human resources, finance, and so on are managed around time. Once we mess up how we manage time, we mess up every thing else.
Make managing time strategically a habit
Managing time strategically may be a little hard initially, especially for certain people. Depending on your personality preference, you maybe someone wired to do things on the fly. You don’t want to plan ahead nor restrain yourself on how you manage time. You are at your best when you’re ‘free spirited’. I get it.
Here is a critical question you must answer: Do you want to be a higher performer? Do you desire to be an effective leader? Are you leading a team or organization and would like to maximize the potential of your people and manage your scarce resources optimally?
Well, if you said yes, the little price you have to pay is to make a shift from managing time tactically and on the fly to managing it strategically, at least in the work and marketplaces. You can wing it in your private space, if that is what you want 🙂
Here is a good news! Once managing your time strategically becomes a habit- once you stop allocating your scarce resources indiscriminatingly, you use the 80/20 principle without much effort. You won’t wing when you strategize and plan once you practice and achieve undeniable results by applying this golden rule. You prioritize strategically and consistently, and without putting a lot of energy on it. It becomes your second nature. You become mindful of where your prime attention and resources should be before you commit your resources…
Managing your time strategically using the 80/20 rule
Here are a few things you could do right away to see immediate results:
- Identify your 20% producers (tasks, projects, portfolios, team members, clients, and strategic partners) that produce 80% or more of your results.
- Invest 80% of your time, energy, and other scarce resources on these high performers and producers.
- Invest the rest 20 of your resources on the remaining 80% of your tasks, projects, portfolios, and people.
Expect to get over 90% of the results you’ve been dreaming about by just making this strategic move. You get 80% results from the 20%, and in the worst-case scenario, you may get 10% result improvements from the remaining 80% of your tasks, projects, and people.
Like I said before, customize the principle according to your objective condition on the ground. In your case, it could be 95/5, 90/10, 80/20, or 75/25.
Of course, don’t keep implementing. Monitor and evaluate to see if you’re generating the results you have been looking for. If so, continue to implement this strategy. If not, improvise and fine-tune it.
If you need a half-day or full-day workshop or webinar for your team to manage your priorities, time, energy, and resources effectively, please reach out to our team [email protected] We can also design and deliver a half-day or full-day workshop or webinar on making a shift from tactical to strategic to fulfill your mandate and meet your goals.