Wednesday 29 September 2010


The 80/20 Rule

The 80/20 rule - one of the lessons I have learned from exceptional Danish Managers.

I remember when I started out as a Management Trainee in a Danish MNC in Singapore, I was fresh out of the university and anxious to show results - Singapore style.

I could feel that I was almost failing in a project, and that made me even more anxious. The then-Purchasing Manager, Charlotte Neumann, told me:

"Elaine, project is 80% preparation, and 20% execution. Don't rush into it to complete it".

That put my heart at ease at once, and I stopped running like "ri gua shang de ma yi" - a Chinese saying meaning like an ant on a hot pot. I took a step back to gain overview of the project. I took my time to enjoy the work and acquire the knowledge required for the project, and went on to produce a fruitful result.

This golden rule, and this trust that this manager gave and taught me on the job, I hold it close to my heart and practice it till today. That one sentence that she spoke, she probably could not remember it, but I never forget her words that came at that right time.

We have lost contact, but whenever I am managing a project, I think of her. With the amount of projects I handle, I think of her often. I wish I could say to her how grateful I am... I am so glad I finally got it out of my heart today through my blog.

The Bible says:

"It is not good to have zeal without knowledge, nor to be hasty and miss the way." - Proverbs 19:2
I thank God for putting such managers early in my working life to learn what is said in theory and apply it into practice.

This is a lesson I would like to pass on to J.

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