“The Pareto principle (also known as the 80/20 rule, the law of the vital few, or the principle of factor sparsity states that, for many events, roughly 80% of the effects come from 20% of the causes.”
You often hear this talked about in terms of sales concentration for a company. For example; “80% of our sales come from 20% of our clients”. Or in the not-for-profit world it often sounds like “20% of the people doing 80% of the work” or “80% of our funding comes from 20% of the donors”. Sometimes you will hear it discussed in terms of wealth distribution. There have been numerous studies both domestically and internationally that show an approximate 80% of wealth is being held in the hands of 20% of the population.
I heard it again recently in a different context. One of our coaching team members visited a very successful Kingdom company. When they looked at how they were investing their excess proceeds from the business, they were:
Investing about 20% in the growth, development, and needs of their employees.
Investing about 80% in addressing the lives and concerns of everyone else.
Now, this is a very intentional company. Maybe the most I’ve ever encountered. At least the one that is the most public about their intentionality. The 80% was going to ministries locally, nationally, and abroad. There were many ministries that were receiving sizable contributions from this singular business.
What could possibly be wrong with that?
Something didn’t seem right. They needed a different perspective. A Kingdom perspective. They realized that the portion of the world they were most responsible for was right in front of them. It was their employees, their families, and the lives of every other person their business impacted that they were most responsible for.
Being a co-heir of the Kingdom…being the generative governors (literally life-giving leaders) meant the lives of the people entrusted to them needed to be the highest priority and focus. Something had to change. They chose a path way less traveled. They flipped the switch on old Pareto.
They decided to invest 80% in their people and the remaining 20% in all those other things. For example, instead of sending checks to Africa, they would send their employees, their families, and resources with them. They would pay all their expenses, pay them salary while they were there, and remove any obstacle to the transformation that would occur for the places they were going, but more importantly for the lives of the people going.
The results have been nothing short of staggering. There is an incredible multiplier effect in every way. Employees are humbled and transformed. Families are knitted more closely together. Employee engagement, productivity, commitment, and care is through the roof. And there seems to be an almost limitless supply of resources available to keep pushing the envelope on doing even more of the same (with their employees and others).
So why wouldn’t everyone do this? Why isn’t this the norm for all companies?
Maybe this isn’t the issue for anyone but me, but what I give and how I give it is the enemy’s playground. When I give to a ministry, it is known, acknowledged, heck, it’s even tax deductible. When I put $200 in an envelope for someone I know is really in need, it is almost completely invisible. Except to me and the other people involved. When I truly invest in people, it often isn’t known by anyone but me and them. (Oh yeah, and God. Kind of a big deal that he is aware of everything I do and don’t do!)
If I am completely honest, I like the acknowledgement. I like others being aware of how I give. Heck, I like the tax deduction. Maybe that is the same for other individuals and companies.
But I am trying to grow and mature. Increasingly, I am learning to invest and give in ways that are largely unknown. I am trying to focus on the people and things God has placed right in front of me. I want to be a better generative governor. I want to delight more in the success and growth of others than myself. Restoration is a very long process.
Do you and your business give a lot of money and time away?
How much of that goes to the lives right in front of you and how much goes to others?
Are you investing in the lives, development, and transformation of your employees, their families, and everyone else entrusted to you?
Who is getting your 80 and who is getting your 20?