Why you should learn to excel at firing customers

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Why you should learn to excel at firing customers

Nature is unbalanced. In other words, input (effort) and output (results) are not equally distributed. This means that the majority of our results come from a minority of activities. We know this phenomenon by the name 80/20 rule or the Vital Few and we see it everywhere. For example, 80% of taxes are being paid by 20% of people; 20% of your clothes are worn 80% of the time; 20% of your knowledge is used 80% of the time, etc.

The 80/20 rule is counter intuitive. This is the reason that many people are aware of this rule, but few actually use it consistently to simplify their life and improve their condition and results accordingly.

Another reason why the 80/20 approach is hardly used in organizations is because of the power of organizational entropy: managers in large organizations often (unconsciously) tend to add complexity, because it poses interesting challenges and solidifies their organizational power base. Behavioral economists have noticed that once an organization has reached a treshold of about 1000 employees, it does not need any outside stimulus anymore to keep itself busy.

Here are a couple of things you can do immediately to use the 80/20 rule to simplify your life, career and business and rapidly improve results:

At the beginning of each year, go through your client list and find ways to elegantly let go of the bottom 20% (suggestion: gently introduce them to your competition). These are typically clients which cause you the most headaches and give you the least amount of results. Then use the organizational energy thus released to find better customers. Learning to excel at firing customers can therefore be a fast track to get exceptional results.

Double your management attention for the top 20% of your clients. They usually give you the bulk of your results and are a pleasure the work with anyway.

Cut your information intake: 80% of the information you receive is noise anyway. Only 20% is relevant for your life and goals. To distinguish between noise and relevant information, keep in mind the following: If information does not trigger you to take action, it will not help you to move towards your goals and it is therefore by definition noise. Do not confuse ‘busyness’ with achievement.

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