The Any Person Mindset is a way of thinking about yourself and the other people in your organization that is based on this primary belief:
Any person can make a significant difference. No one is born with the necessary traits. These are learned thinking traits.
This belief is the starting point for optimizing individual and group performances throughout your organization.
It takes focused effort over an extended period of time to develop the thinking traits necessary to make a significant difference, but these thinking traits matter a great deal in generating sustainable success for the organization.
The enemy to sustainable success for any organization is arrogance and believing that only a few people really matter in an organization and that they have all the answers to improve the organization. Arrogance of a few needs to be replaced by preparation of the many.
The Origins of the 80/20 Rule
In 1900, an economist in Italy named Vilfredo Pareto noticed that 20% of the people in Italy owned 80% of the land. He then noticed this phenomenon in several other situations where 20% of the causes created 80% of the effects. This became known as Pareto’s Principle.
In 1950, Joseph Juran, who had recently learned of Pareto’s Principle and was teaching Total Quality Management, called this phenomenon The 80/20 Rule in business. He noticed that 20% of sales people were selling 80% of what was sold in a company and 20% of the employees were producing 80% of the results.
His recommendation was to focus on the ideas, actions, and processes that improved results the most in a sustainable way and to avoid those that are not as effective.
The Importance of Sacrifice, Focus, and Clarity
I agree with Juran. I believe it is a really good thing for an organization to clarify and focus on ideas, actions, and processes that improve results in a sustainable way in your most important desired outcomes, and to sacrifice those that keep it from being as effective as it is capable of being. That was true in 1950 and it’s still true today.
However, I believe the ability to clarify, focus, and sacrifice needs to be developed in all the people throughout the organization at all levels and in all functions, and not just in the top 20% of the employees.
The Dangerous Evolution of the 80/20 Rule
By 2000, the 80/20 Rule had become a management rage and executives and managers in companies around the world and in industry after industry were obsessed with it. They showered praise and projects on the top 20% of their employees.
However, somewhere around this time I believe the 80/20 Rule took a dangerous turn.
In many companies without anyone saying it and maybe not even realizing it the 80/20 Rule began to mean that executives and managers believed ONLY 20% of employees had good ideas, ONLY 20% of the employees were productive, ONLY 20% of the employees were effective, and ONLY 20% of the employees really mattered and had the potential to be significant.
Over and over again the other 80% of the employees were mentally written off as not being important to the success of the company. Most of those people were not fired. They stayed in the company, but they were largely ignored or given specific tasks to do with little or no chance of adding any value outside of a very tight parameter.
Employee engagement scores began to plummet. Many employees felt their ideas were not considered and that they had no chance of making a meaningful impact in their organizations. They started to work only for a paycheck and stayed only until they could find a different job where they might be able to make a meaningful difference.
The 80 + 20 Rule
It became very clear to me that if companies wanted to achieve the results they were capable of achieving, they needed to shift their focus away from the 80/20 Rule to the 80 + 20 Rule, which says that 100% of the results in a company are produced by 100% of the employees.
Every employee is seen as being responsible for making the contribution he or she is capable of making, and managers support every employee in making that impact and hold them accountable for doing so.
With the 80 + 20 Rule, any employee can be seen as having the potential to provide insightful ideas, to be effective, and to make a significant difference.
The Any Person Mindset as a Management Approach
With that shift I began to see a new management approach that I call The Any Person Mindset Management Approach. Its focus is on continually developing thinking traits in every employee, including yourself, because no one knows who will make the next significant contribution in helping the company to succeed.
The Any Person Mindset Management Approach is a practical method for managing yourself, your team, and your organization for sustainable success. In order for an organization to achieve its best performance it has to focus on getting the best possible performance out of every employee so that any person can make a significant difference for the business.
This management approach includes these twelve elements and applies to every person in your organization.
Part One Think About Yourself
- Understand, Apply, and Improve Your Assets for Significance
- Think About How You Think
- Sacrifice for the Sake of Significance
- Leverage Purpose-Driven Imagination
Part Two Think About Other People
- See the Potential for Significance in Every Person
- Provide Clarity, Engagement, Empathy, and Accountability
- Lead for Sustained Results
- Apply The Total Team Concept
Part Three Think About Your Organization
- Set a Clear Direction
- Operate Effectively with Efficiency
- Feed Your Brand Every Day
- Innovate to Generate Sustainable, Profitable Growth