Saturday, December 30, 2006

The 80/20 Principle & Maverick

Recently, I have read "Maverick" by Ricardo Semler and "The 80/20 Principle" by Richard Koch.

Maverick - explores what happens when a company embraces participatory management. The results are very impressive though I am not sure how quickly it can be introduced (a certain paradigm shift in thinking needs to occur within the workforce and that requires a certain amount of trust/education/will). Anyway, please read it and let me know what you think - I am interested in discussions about this (read the reviews on amazon for an overview).

80/20 - I liked this quote early on in the book:
  • When I was student at Oxford, my tutor told me never to go to lectures. "Books can be read far faster," he explained. "But never read a book from cover to cover, except for pleasure. When you are working, find out what the book is saying much faster than you would by reading it through. Read the conclusion, then the introduction, then the conclusion again, then dip lightly into any interesting bits." What he was really saying was that 80 percent of the value of the book can be found in 20 percent or fewer of its pages and absorbed in 20 percent of the time most people would take to read it through.
Taking his advice, I skim read the book which basically looks at the 80/20 rule from various angles and tries to apply it to just about everything (I want to think some more about this and how it applies to my investment strategy - 20% of my portfolio is likely generating 80% of my returns).

The book also contains the following quote from General Erich Von Manstein (1887-1973) on the German Officer Corps which I think there is some truth to.
  • There are only four types of officer. First, there are the lazy, stupid ones. Leave them alone, they do no harm…Second, there are the hard- working, intelligent ones. They make excellent staff officers, ensuring that every detail is properly considered. Third, there are the hard- working, stupid ones. These people are a menace and must be fired at once. They create irrelevant work for everybody. Finally, there are the intelligent, lazy ones. They are suited for the highest office.

(Lifehack has an article that discusses how it applies to the workplace.)

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