Pareto’s Principle


1 Pareto, an Italian statistician, put forward a principle which helps people to investigate problems and plan better.


2 The principle states: In many situations involving a large number of factors, a minority of the factors will cause a majority of the effects.* In general: the vital few cause most of the results.

3 Example. A business has 200 Customers. If the business ranks these Customers in the order of the size of their accounts (the biggest purchaser first and then in descending order) the first (say) 20 on the list (10% of the total Customers) will account for (say) 90% of the value of total sales. Alternately the first 20% will account for the first 80% of the total sales.

4 If the figures in the above example apply, then Pareto’s Principle applies in that situation. Pareto’s Principle applies to the number of Customers compared with the value of sales in many Companies.

5 Example. Probably 500 or more known causes of fatal car acci­dents exist, but the first ten causes account for over half of the accidents.

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Avoiding the Loss of Urgent Messages

Introduction – Some Problems

1 An important Customet rings and says “Why didn’t you ring me? I rang you two days ago and asked your Secretary to ask if you would please ring me.”

2 Pat calls Mary into the Office and asks Mary why she has not done a particular job. Pat states “I left a note on your desk to get that job done yesterday morning and said I wanted it urgently.”

3 One of your Subordinates has an urgent personal need to take time off work and because he does not hear from you feels upset, blames you, and persuades other people of your lack of fairness in the way you treat staff.

An Explanation

4 In the above cases different reasons could explain each of the above situations. However the following one explanation could fit each case: Someone wrote a message and put it on your desk or at your work-place. If you had seen it you would have carried out the desire of the Message Sender to their satisfaction.

5 Sometimes Managers do not receive messages because they get lost among other papers. Such Managers come into their office, see a lot of material at their desk. They do not have time to sort through the material before having to leave again to do another particular job. Or they have just have time to pick up and work on a couple of urgent jobs that they know exist.

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Wise Time Usage – Learning while doing Something Else


1 Provide a means (e.g. a recorded cassette) for some learning by listen­ing while doing something else, which does not stop (some) learning taking place.

2 The “something else” might include such activities as: driving a car, sitting in a car (waiting); eating, shaving, showering, defecating, waiting for a Prospect/Customer/Superior/Subordinate, during dull parts of some leisure activities.

3 Some of the previous examples will require the use of a communication channel that excludes all others except the Learner e.g. an ear plug in conjunction with a recorder.


4 Create an environment which will encourage people to use the “means” (e.g. recorded cassette).

5 Choose Learners who will want to make use of such “means”. This sub-objective rates as a dependent variable. However an environment that will “cause” a keen Student to use the means may not cause a less-keen Student to use it.

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The Effective Use of Time

The Effective Use of Time


1 All Managers find they do not have enough time to achieve their objec­tives. Further, they cannot expand the amount of time available no matter what the demand. Therefore Managers at all levels need to look on time as a valuable resource and allocate it on a planned and rational basis to meet the demands made on it.

A meaning for “afford”

2 When someone says “I cannot afford to buy Product “X” they mean they have established (either consciously or unconsciously) a list of priori­ties. If they have rated “X” as low on the list, they do not buy it be­cause they have spent all available money on other things. When we say “we cannot afford” (in terms of TIME) to carry out a certain action, we mean that we place the action too far down our list of priorities to reach it in the foreseeable future.

3 If, whenever we made this statement, we made it on a carefully analysed and rational basis, perhaps we would show considerable executive strength. However people often have a tendency to say “I haven’t the time” because they allow other tasks of less importance to absorb their time. Any plan to use time more effectively must involve a more rational and logical approach to the establishing of priorities.

4 One important factor in the allocation of priorities involves the extent to which we can give some jobs (objectives) to other people. Often Manag­ers decide that they have not got the time to carry out a particular task (“Y”), even though someone else could carry out some of their other tasks and thus let them have time to do task “Y”. Expressed another way: Manag­ers should concentrate on those tasks which only they can do because  of their particular skills. They should ensure that they do not give such tasks a lower priority than other tasks which require less skill and which they could give to others. This approach will help to achieve wise delega­tion.

The Five-Step Plan

5 The following five steps show how to achieve more effective use of personal time:

(a) Analyse the working day in terms of what happens now.

(b) Prepare a plan to achieve selected objectives.

(c) Review the plan frequently.

(d) Check progress against plan.

(e) Recognise the completion point.

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Make Better Use of Time

Session Objective

Try out at least four new ideas within the next six weeks and rate at least three of them as giving you and/or one or more Members of your Organisation higher productivity than before this session.

Ideas For Saving Tine

1 Keep Time Diary and find out where Time “goes”.

2 Run the in your Organisation and get ideas implemented.

3 Communicate to your Staff worthwhile ideas from this session.

4 Stop interruptions for periods when you need to give your work uninter­rupted attention. (Cut off phone; Work at home, in the car; Put up a sign on your office door “Interviewing please do not disturb”, “Out” when “In”.)

5 Develop techniques for avoiding or reducing their length.

(a) Avoid accepting (incoming) communications while engaged with one or more other people.

(b) Avoid interrupting other people when they have someone with them.

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Some Specific Problems in Time Usage


1 A group of people who attended a discussion group listed some major problems which caused them to waste time.

Inadequate/Unstable from a Requester of Information

2 One person described a situation where a Manager would give out a job of work. Then, when the Member did the work, the Manager would add on something different or ask for the Member to do it in a different way.

3 Thus often the person had three or four “bites at the cherry”. This person felt that if the Manager had given more complete information in the first place, less wasted effort would have occurred.

The Same Work for Two or More People

4 The Manager in the previous Section also caused further problems by giving out the same work to two or more different people so that several people worked on the task without knowing the others had the same problem to tackle.

5  Some occasions would exist when this approach would prove legitimate but it can certainly prove annoying. Sometimes people who find out that a Manager has used this approach will give the work a lower priority or even stop doing the work.

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Dealing with Interruptions


1 The following notes identify some common interruption situations and suggest some ways of reducing/eliminating any wasted time involved.

2 Some Readers will feel that the notes cover some very obvious problems and offer some rather obvious solutions. However some Managers have given interruptions little or no thought and have little practice in solving the problems involved.

A definition of “interruptions”

3 A communication interruption occurs when an outside person attempts to communicate with at least one or more people already involved in a communi­cation situation.

Meanings For Interrupter And Interruptee

4 For shortness, these notes call the person trying to make the interrup­tion – the Interrupter and the person interrupted – the Interruptee.

5 Example. Mary sits in her Office talking to another person. A third person (Interrupter) approaches Mary’s desk (enters her room) and wants to communicate with Mary (Interruptee).

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Dealing with Interruptions – from a Phone Call

Phones cause Interruptions which Waste Time

1 When people’s phones ring they usually answer. Inevitably such Receiv­ers of calls interrupt their own work.

2 Sometimes the phone calls interrupt a discussion with one or more other people. In this case, if people continue the phone conversation it can waste many person minutes.

3 Thus people need a phone-answering method which will stop the interrup­tion continuing.

The Paint-Scene Approach

4 The following procedure offers one method.

5 All Members in an Organisation, Section, etc agree to answer their phone as follows:

“Smith here, I have Jones with me” (or “I have a discussion on with three people) – may I ring you back?”

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The Avoidance of Interruptions during a Discussion


1 In every Organisation, almost every day, interruptions occur during discussions. The discussion may involve two people or more than two. The more people involved, the greater potential waste of time.

2 Interruptions occur because:

(a) A new person (or persons) wishes to enter the discussion or communicate with one or more Members involved in a discussion.

(b) Someone introduces an unnecessary topic.

(c) People discuss topics in the wrong sequence.

3 The following questions provide one approach to avoiding or reducing the interruptions.

Questions On Whether The Discussion On The Topic Should Start And/Or Continue

Possibilities for Deferral

4 Do we have to talk about this topic now?

5 Can this topic wait until . . . . . . . . . . .  (e.g. Tomorrow)?

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