the Pareto principle says that 80% of the effects of something come from only 20% of the causes. it’s certainly something that i have encountered in my work. as a consultant helping to analyze the business needs of particular resources, i see a lot of resources and how they affect an organization. i can say with a high level of conviction that this pareto principle holds true for the vast majority of instances.

i was reminded of this when i saw a tweet from a colleague with a link to a bit of research completed on twitter users. from the article, research shows that most twitter users are those, “hey, seeing what this twitter thing is all about,” people who never return to the service… however! the top 10% of twitter users (in terms of their number of tweets) account for 90% of the overall tweets on the service.

so it made me think about some other things as well; namely, i thought of project teams.

are you on a project where you see most of the work being completed by only a few members of the team? if so, which classification do you fall under? are the manager, the 20% getting the work done, or the 80% providing only marginal productivity?

first, identify yourself. then, from there, it’s a pretty simple decision — you can choose one of three options: reward,delegate, or volunteer.

reward those people who are making it their personal mission to ensure that the project stays on schedule, in scope, and under budget.

delegate work to other members of the team in orderto ease your load, and to utilize the many and varied talents of your teammates.

volunteer to take on a larger role in the project so that you can become one of the 20%, develop your leadership and personal development skills, and becomehandsomelyrewarded for it!

so — 1, 20, or 80? which one are you? now, what are you going to do about it?