Does Rotary suffer from the 80 -20 Rule?

Getting more accomplished can be a struggle since battling distractions, emergencies and low-value busywork can eat up a large part of your day. Most people respond by working harder, which usually involves longer hours, tighter deadlines and a lot of beating yourself up for not getting more accomplished. Yes this can even happen in Rotary

The key rule of thumb and mind-set to develop is something called the “Pareto principle.” The Pareto principle, also called the 80/20 rule, states that 80% of results come from 20% of inputs (and, conversely, the other 20% of results come from the other 80% of inputs). The principle was named after Vilfredo Pareto, an Italian mathematician from the turn of the last century. Pareto noted that 80% of land in his native Italy was owned by the wealthiest 20% of the population. Pareto went on to comment that 20% of his garden’s pea plants produced 80% of the peas he grew.

In Rotary at times it seems that the same people are attending events, working on committees and taking on the leadership. They do so because they are leaders, understand the cause and have found their Rotary Moment. The fear is that we may burn these folks out, and they are often effected by those who like to criticize and complain or by those that don’t seem to step up and help. The fear is that we will lose them or they may back off, and we need them in Rotary!

The Pareto principle states that a little imbalance can actually benefit us. By focusing on the things that produce the biggest results, we can get the lion’s share of the results, with the minimum amount of effort. It still involves hard work, sure, but you can achieve your goals in an efficient way, rather than feeling like you’re bashing into a wall over and over — a feeling we’ve all had when chasing our goals.

How to make the 80/20 rule work for Rotary? We need to focus on the core tasks and outcomes of Rotary. We all need to follow the mission of Rotary “Service above Self”. Rotary is not about you, but about US! Together we can raise more money, create more awareness for a cause and change more lives. Together!

Rather than spending time criticizing, complaining, and not be part of the solution, let’s start looking at the core results and start working on those. Let’s all spend 20% more effort and we will get 80% more results.  If a fundraiser is not going well, let’s step up and act, help the committee members, sell tickets or use your network to save some money. If membership is an issue in Rotary, then find a way to invite your network to join Rotary, mentor the new member to understand Rotary and make sure they are engaged, so they can find their Rotary moment. Have an idea, share it with the President, but take it to the next step and take action. Make that suggestion happen. Does Rotary need more….. whatever it may be, you have the ability to make that happen. Stop using your 20% on the wrong actions and attitudes and let’s use the 20% to make sure we are doing 80% of the right stuff. The result will be an engaged membership, working collectively on projects and initiatives that change lives. It can only happen when you start thinking about Service Above Self!

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