Michael Bloomberg, Success, and the Pareto Principle

Michael Bloomberg provides three basic, no-nonsense ingredients for success. We add a bit more "secret sauce" for good measure.

Just a couple of weeks ago, billionaire businessman and New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg was a guest on the John Gambling radio talk show in New York City.  Of course many things were discussed, but among these other things, Mayor Bloomberg provide three key points of advice for success:

  1.     Be willing to buck the conventional wisdom.
  2.     Be willing to take risks.
  3.     Work hard...first to arrive and last to leave most of the time.

Now, this is great guidance, and a good indication...but it's really nothing unusual. But it is bolstered just by the fact that it was said by Michael Bloomberg.

And is this a sure fire way to success and riches?  No!  There are no guarantees, and there is no true magic formula!  But you will certainly increase your chances!

I think these concepts need a little flavoring...some "secret sauce".  And here it is:

Success is about being effective where it matters most.  It is identifying and emphasizing the 20% of things that deliver 80% of the results.

Here's how "80:20 thinking" transforms those three selected success factors mentioned by Mayor Bloomberg:

  1.     Choosing to buck the conventional wisdom on the things that matter most will drastically increase your chances of getting attention and winning support. In other words, you need to be willing to buck the conventional wisdom, but you also need to choose wisely. If you do not choose an area of good opportunity to apply your ideas, you will have limited success.
  2.     Take calculated risks...looking for the low lying fruit, or the items that present the most to gain with the least downside. In other words, a healthy dose of risk aversion can actually be helpful! It is better to look at risk versus return, recognizing that anything worthwhile is not guaranteed...but that you can manage the risks - reduce the possibility of a bad out, and increase the chances of a good outcome.
  3.     Choose wisely where you work hard, as you are paid for results...and some effort yields much greater results than other. Working hard needs to be done strategically. You can get yourself in the middle of strategic analysis by placing your efforts on the details that will answer the question, "What matters most here?" It's an important question to answer, and an important place to be. As a future leader, perhaps when you are sorting among strategic alternatives, it will be a good place to have been!

Ultimately, while hard work is a given, being able to carefully select what to work on is the greater skill. Therefore, with a good work ethic, it is good to put a lot of your effort into discerning what the leverage points are, what items will provide the greatest return for the effort.

It comes down to the "forest and the trees". And it's harder than it appears on the surface. Think about your current situation, with all its complexities. Are you looking at the forest or the trees. It may take some considerable effort to sort out the trees from the forests and see the areas where you can put your sills to their highest and best use.

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