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The 20/80 Rule

Aren’t you tired of hearing these point blank statements demonizing one company and praising another for their social responsibility or lack thereof? Go to any conference on the subject and you are bound to get such a salvo. We do love simplification, and isn’t easier to get a point across to say that “a Nestlé gets it,” but “a Unilever doesn’t” (or was it the other way around?).

I see the world differently. I look at myself and see someone who spends his days going after social impact, but then still consumes more than most at home. I see companies where a few champions are going after shared value creation: solving social problems in ways that grows the business, but where most employees and managers are still going after business as usual. And I see industries where some of its companies are redefining their purpose around social progress, while others are still pursuing a bigger share in high consumption markets.

Which gets me to the 20/80 rule.

I think that in many cases at individual, company or industry levels there is a “20% of doing” that has the chance of defining the future of that person, company or industry. And our job is to shed the light on that 20% so that it can change the other 80%. If we rule with the majority, we will crush the innovators and the spirit that drives change.

So for those who love the simplicity of black and white statements, watch out for the call out on the new 20/80 rule!

Marc Pfitzer

Managing Director