The 80/20 rule, or the Pareto principle, generally refers to about 80% of your results coming from about 20% of your efforts. Often referenced in sales, this rule actually applies to virtually anything in which you can apply varying degrees of effort and responsibility. In team building, this could be the amount of engagement you get, the contributions to overall efficacy or even simply attendance rates. To truly amplify your effectiveness, we are looking at how the 80/20 rule coordinates engaged participation with desired results.
Do You Need Everyone Involved In Team Building Events?
Of course, the greater active participation involved, the more likely you are to have an engaged and excited crowd. However, does that really mean you need to pull teeth to focus on those few participants who are increasingly difficult to draw into your activity? According to the 80/20 rule, move on!
Instead, focus on engaging the easily engaged and most active participants. If this seems counterintuitive (after all, they’re already engaged—why spend any time on them?), consider your end goal. With a limited number of facilitators and a end of event inevitable, you need to get as high an engagement rate as possible in a short period. By activating your 20%, you can extend your reach by leveraging their infectious participation. That’s right—focus 80% of your efforts on getting the most engaged attendees even more engaged so that they inspire others to follow suit.
What About The Attendees Who Just Will Not Get Involved?
There will be, inevitably, at a group of attendees who are just simply hard to engage. Maybe they are shy. Maybe they hate group events. Maybe they never got over being the cool, aloof kid in the back of the class—but whatever it is, you will not glean results from spending 80% of your effort there! (or for that matter, any of your effort).
As a way to avoid allowing any negativity to affect the event, make sure to scatter negativity around the room rather than letting it cluster in certain groups. By distributing negative or disengaged participants, the risk of affecting others is reduced considerably because there is no opportunity for a critical mass to take hold and become disruptive.
Not sure how to pick out the most engaged or the least engaged? The groups usually self-identify by electing themselves captains or avoiding opportunities to contribute. Keep a finger on the pulse of the event (and activities leading up to it) so you can cherry pick those who are most likely to benefit from 80% of your efforts—and those few that may never. Your team building event will be all the better for it.