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Broken Things and Grace

I love this quote: We all have broken things. Perhaps it is the grace by which we handle them that helps us through.

In our 21st Century engagement strategy, the discretionary effort model, strong relationships help us with broken things.

This example shared with me illustrates the point: Two colleagues met in the hall. The first, (we’ll call Sophie) asked the second, (we’ll call Dana), “How is it going today?” Dana answered with a sad expression, “Not so good.” Instead of saying, “Hope it gets better” or “So sorry to hear that” and then continuing to walk past, Sophie stopped, looked her in the eye and in a comforting voice said, “Let’s go talk.”

A listening ear is often the best antidote for broken things. Don’t think you have time?

The Discretionary Effort course, Work in the Zone productivity training, teaches a  unique interpretation on the 80-20 rule that encourages engagement with coworkers. It is called, the 20-20 rule.

Also known as the Pareto Principle, the 80-20 rule was developed by an Italian economist, Alfredo Pareto and is known as the law of the vital few and states that, for many events, roughly 80% of the effects come from 20% of the causes. The application of the 80-20 rule to time management is that 80% of the things you do, don’t bring you the results you want. By focusing on the high payoff 20% of tasks,  you make faster progress toward your goals.

This can be discouraging to think that 80% of your activities during the day are wasted, at least I thought so and I worked hard to do only high A tasks. It was an adventure in futility so I developed what I call the 20-20 rule.

The 20-20 rule states that if you focus on the 20% of Highly Effective tasks you are on the right path for high achievers. As you can see in the graphic below, the next category is Legitimate Activities. Legitimate Activities include eating, sleeping, exercise, and the many tasks that support the Highly Effective, A tasks.

This is better understood with a sales example. To me, the 20% Highly Effective tasks are being in front of a customer or giving a sales presentation via the internet, telephone, luncheon or golf games or any other way you can actually talk to a potential client. However, there are many Legitimate Activities that support this endeavor. An effective sales presentation demands research, putting together a proposal, deciding the flow of your presentation, setting up the meeting, etc. When you look at it this way, you can see that now 50% of your time is very effective.

The next category is critical: Intangibles. This is taking time to listen, discuss, help, mentor, and everything else you do through the day that build your interpersonal relationships, engage with coworkers and help those around you. Can you put a price on the Sophie spent listening to Dana? Probably not because once negative emotions subside, productivity returns.

Can you put a price on the engagement with a customer and the extra time you spend listening to his complaint and then being savvy enough to take the right steps to satisfy him? Only if you calculate the revenue that customer brings you.

Now you see that 70% of your time is productive and effective throughout the day. Are you feeling better? I promise – this perspective brings great emotional release. It allows for human relationships and experiences that make it possible to tackle broken things with grace.

As to the 30% of Frenetic Activities – looking for files you misplaced, searching your computer for that stellar sales pitch that is alluding you, picking up things you dropped, talking too long to a gabby friend, grabbing your devices and running down the hall to slip into a meeting 30 second late, and many more that you know happen during the day  I think it is impossible to totally eliminate these because we are human. You can, however, feel good about yourself if 70% of your day is filled with Highly Effective tasks, Legitimate Activities, and Intangibles. 

Following the 20-20 Rule permits you to fix broken things in your life with grace. As you build strong relationships, you will extend that grace to others and help them fix broken things in their lives.

Learn about Broken Things and Breakthroughs

Karla Brandau is the CEO of Workplace Power Institute and the co-founder with Douglas Ross of the Discretionary Effort Leadership initiative. She is a Certified Speaking Professional (CSP), a Certified Professional Behavioral Analyst (CPBA), and a Certified Professional Motivators Analyst (CPMA). Through Workplace Power Institute, a variety of purposeful assessments can be evaluated and after a discussion with Karla, you can choose the most appropriate assessments for your company.

She is available for keynotes and workshops on improving leadership and communication processes by focusing on professional development. 

Contact her at 770-923-0883 or fill out the form below.