To make change happen, gathering a band of passionate enthusiasts is not enough. . . you need to understand that the change you seek will not happen inside the movement, but outside of it.

Greg Satell


By Steve Sullivan

The 80/20 rule — which says that 80% of results typically come from 20% of effort — is widely known but seldom used to its potential. Yet it can be perhaps the single best route to success.

It’s critical to continually evaluate what you spend your time on. If you tweak the mix just right, you accomplish the important things and even have some time left over to have a life. If not, you spin your wheels and never realize your potential.

This applies to organizations of all sizes as much as it applies to you.

In this case, the 80/20 rule reminds you to spend your time pursuing the 20% of your work that creates 80% of value. Probably it should be 90/10.

Sure, there is always important work that must be done that doesn’t fall within 80/20. But if you keep your eye focused on that critical 20%, and finish that first and foremost, chances are you will accomplish far more.

I’ve found working on the most important tasks first leaves me dialed in to achieving my most important goals.

There is a secret you have to know though.

The secret of the 80/20 rule is NOT doing all that other work. It’s far more important to stay relentlessly focused. That’s the hardest part, saying no and ignoring things. But it’s critical.

To make it easier, start with only planning to do the 10% of tasks that gets you 90% of your results. That way if you slip, you’ll still be close to 20%.

How do you use the 80/20 rule in your work or life?


If You Don’t Do It, You Don’t Value It
An eye-opening thought piece on walking your talk. Worth a quick read to see if you or your organization are really doing what you value.


Why Some Movements Succeed and Others Fail
What’s the new role for leaders in the networked age? Find out and learn how operating like a startup company marketing a product can be the path to success.



Every Marketing Challenge Revolves Around These Questions
A quick reminder of the questions to ask before you jump in.

Steve Sullivan is passionate about all things nonprofit and digital and started this blog and email newsletter to share the latest strategies and tactics with other marketing, fundraising, communications and membership professionals.


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