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The 80/20 Principle

The Power of 80/20!

'Karen and Jay share thoughts on the ‘80/20 Principle’ and how it can lead to greater success and happiness.'

The 80/20 Rule is based on a simple insight but has the potential to greatly improve your life. Briefly stated, the 80/20 Principle posits that with roughly 20 percent of your efforts you can achieve approximately 80 percent of your results. This is true whether it is the amount of time it takes for you to accomplish a desired outcome or the amount of money you need to invest to earn a return. In other words, there is a very, very valuable 20 percent. The obvious implication: If you can focus more and more of your efforts on the critical 20 percent, you can radically improve your results. And, in so doing, yes, you can revolutionize your life!

So, how did this powerful observation all come about? Back in the early 1900’s, an Italian economist by the name of Vilfredo Pareto was harvesting some vegetables from his garden. As he made his way through, he arrived at his peas where he had the revelation that a mere 20 percent of the plants he had planted yielded a whopping 80 percent of the peas he collected. Being an economist, naturally he began to wonder whether or not this statistical principle held true in economics. Sure enough, as he began exploring various industries, businesses, and societal patterns, the theory remained consistent throughout. This was the discovery of the ‘Pareto Principle,’ more commonly known as the 80/20 Rule.

What the 80/20 Rule does practically is to help us identify actions that yield the biggest or best results with the least amount of input. The ratio 80/20 isn’t even essential to the principle, you could have an outcome that’s 75/25 or 85/15, the point is that it’s meant to be a guide that helps find an imbalance. Though it’s most commonly used as a business management tool, it has universal application. To use it doesn’t require big math formulas or a deep understanding of statistics either. The 80/20 Principle can be used with our daily to do’s, our happiness, our exercise routine, work-life balance, time management, literally anything we want to apply it to.

For instance, as we recently spoke about in the Sunshine Report, perhaps you want to do some spring cleaning and clear some clutter out of the closet, but don’t know where to start. Well, think about the clothes you wear most of the time. It’s likely you wear a small portion of your overall wardrobe the majority of the time. Probably 80/20. Another practical example could be that you’re unhappy with some of your spending habits. Out of what you spend your hard-earned dollars on, think about what brings you the most joy and what doesn’t really serve you. It’s likely the principle applies here too.

Oftentimes, it’s hard to find the right tools or motivation to make long sought improvements or fixes, whether it be in our personal or professional lives. The downside being we can find ourselves feeling stuck. The 80/20 Principle, however, helps provide at least one solution to this challenge. By providing a structure that lets us identify things we like and don’t like, that serve us or don't, we can make tangible decisions that yield positive results. That’s what I enjoy most about the 80/20 Principle, just how practical of a tool it is. It can be used by anyone, any time, anywhere, for anything. All you have to do is remember it’s there. And, then put it to use.

Bretton Woods – Great Hotel, Amazing History

Bretton Woods, or the Mount Washington Hotel as is its actual name, is a beautiful luxury hotel near the base of Mt. Washington in the town of Carroll in New Hampshire. The hotel is a site to behold that has become a ‘must-go-to’ attraction if you are visiting the Granite State. And, this grand old hotel has a rich and wonderful history.

The hotel was the dream of a Concord businessman who began the process at the turn of the century in 1900. It took two years to complete and over $54,000,000 in today’s dollars. Unfortunately for the hotel’s founder, he was only able to enjoy it for one year before his passing. His widow would frequent the property for another decade before handing it off to a family member. The hotel continued to do well until the 1930’s and 1940’s when the depression led to a downturn in tourism, and the hotel shut down completely during World War II. But it is after the War that the hotel left its real mark not just on New Hampshire, but the world.

I suspect many people do not know this, but the International Monetary Fund was established at the hotel in what is referred to as the ‘Bretton Woods Conference.’ As well, what would later become the World Bank was also founded at this historic meeting in New Hampshire’s beautiful White Mountains. However, the biggest takeaway from this conference was not the foundation of these two groups, but the establishment of the US dollar as the reserve currency, which allows the US dollar to have the purchasing power it does today. All of this happened in what is now called the gold room,’ which is aptly named as at the time each country was agreeing to tie its currency to gold.

Meanwhile, as a physical structure, the Bretton Woods Hotel itself is also quite impressive. This massive hotel boasts over 11 miles of plumbing, 1,200 doors, and 5,000 lights but while the imposing 80,000 sq. ft. property is a site behold, the story of Bretton Woods is the true treasure. The hotel has always been a star attraction, and before the advent of the automobile, there were three train stations and routes that connected to the hotel with up to 50 stops daily.

Today the hotel boasts two golf courses and is home to over 600 full time employees. With spectacular views and a robust history, this is truly one of New Hampshire’s not so hidden gems.

Appreciating the ‘Unsung Heroes’

This past week people across America had a chance to participate in an unofficial holiday that exemplifies the true meaning and definition to hard work. I, of course, am talking about “Administrative Professionals Week.’ This recognition is given to those who work in a supportive role. Oftentimes, people in these roles do incredible things, but end up with very little recognition. In fact, they are the ‘unsung heroes.’

I know this is true in my own case. The executive assistant who supports me is phenomenal. Lexi and I work together in a seamless, productive way. Getting things done, moving things forward - even though we are located in different states and work in different offices. Lexi is on point, ready to help me accomplish my goals and often when she spots a problem ahead, takes preemptive corrective action and ‘poof’ – we stay ‘right on track.’ Meanwhile, possibly all done ‘under the radar screen’ – and thus little likelihood of recognition.

According to government statistics, in 2019 there were just under 4 million administrative professional jobs across the United States. These skilled dedicated workers are employed in schools, hospitals, government agencies, And in both the public and private sector. Some of the greatest minds and leaders rely and depend on these professionals and some of the actual leaders in the industry have come from the administrative professional sector. Some of those names include Carly Fiorina, former presidential candidate and CEO of Hewlett Packard. Or how about JK Rowling, the international author of the hit Harry Potter. To pay her rent, she worked in the Amnesty International’s London headquarters where she translated notes for the human rights organization’s research department.

I speak for everyone who relies on an administrative professional to help do our jobs. We wouldn’t be able to do what we do without you. So, please take a moment this week and recognize those who serve in this role. They truly are the ones who keep the trains on the track and progress moving forward!

Positive Profile of the Week: Kelly Ayotte

This week, I am delighted to highlight a friend and one of New Hampshire’s most admired and accomplished leaders, former U.S. Senator Kelly Ayotte.

Kelly is a force to be reckoned with. A dedicated prosecutor, Kelly became the the first female Attorney General in the State of New Hampshire. First nominated to Attorney General by a Republican governor, Kelly’s dedication and outstanding performance earned her such widespread support that she was subsequently re-nominated to the position two more times by a Democrat governor.

Kelly then went on to run for the U.S. Senate, winning election in 2010. As a Senator from 2011-2017, she served with distinction on the Senate Armed Services and Homeland Security Committees where she earned high praise as a leader on national security and foreign policy issues.

More recently, following her time in the US Senate, Kelly once again had the opportunity to rise to national prominence by playing a lead role in guiding Justice Neil Gorsuch successfully through his confirmation hearings to become a member of the United States Supreme Court.

Today, Kelly continues to be an active leader and steadfast advocate for veterans causes. Proudly married to a veteran, Kelly continues to work nonstop in her support for veterans and continues to serve her community.

New Hampshire is indeed fortunate to have Kelly Ayotte as a leader and for her positive contributions to our Granite State. Thank you, Kelly, for all that you do!

Quotes of the Week: The 80/20 Principle

“80% of the results come from 20% of the causes. A few things are important; most are not.”

Richard Koch - Author of ‘The 80/20 Principle’

“Strive for excellence in few things, rather than good performance in many.”

Richard Koch

“80 percent of products, or customers or employees, are only contributing 20 percent of profits; that there is great waste; that the most powerful resources of the company are being held back by a majority of much less effective resources; that profits could be multiplied if more of the best sort of products could be ...”

Richard Koch

“The way to create something great is to create something simple.”

Richard Koch

“Hard work leads to low returns. Insight and doing what we want lead to high returns.” –

Richard Koch

“The key is to work out the few things that are really important, and the few methods that will give us what we really want.”

Richard Koch


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