“The 80/20 Principle” by Richard Koch is a cornerstone of business. In a nutshell, exhaustive research points to the startling revelation that 20% of a business’ (or individual’s) work typically produces 80% of the results. Conversely, the remaining 80% of their time, energy and resources are poured into creating the remaining 20% of the pie.

In practical terms, 20% of a company’s products or services creates 80% of revenue. 20% of your time generates 80% of your work output. 20% of your friendships constitute 80% of your meaningful relationships. This 80/20 principle extends far and wide across your personal and professional life. (Though it stops at your children… unless 80% of your parenting joy is derived from only 20% of your kids.)

Have you applied the 80/20 principle to your training?


What 20% portion of your training produces 80% of your desired results in regards to employee information retention and behavior modification? Are you spending 80% of your time writing and designing a deck that only produces 20% of your desired results instead of producing a video that provides 80% of the teaching impact?

To be clear, all training methods do not yield equal results.

Your job is to choose the training format with the greatest positive impact on employees.


With that in mind, ask yourself two questions:

  1. Which training methods impact employees most deeply?
  2. Which training methods take up the majority of your time and energy?

Those two answers should align. You should be pouring the most resources into the most productive form of training.

If your answers don’t match, it’s time to take a sober look at what you’re doing by asking:

  • How effective is the training method that commands the majority of my resources (time, money, etc.)?
  • What’s preventing me from shifting those resources into the training with the greatest impact?
  • How would focusing more resources in the 20% of training that produces 80% of the learning results benefit the company? Employees? You personally?

Remember, the 80/20 Principle is about working more effectively.


In the world of ethics and compliance, 80/20 means concentrating your resources into training with the maximum outcome, thus saving you, your company and employees countless wasted hours and dollars on simply “doing what we’ve always done” rather than actually achieving your long term goals.


Bryan Belknap, an award-winning screenwriter and speaker, is Creative Director at Resonate Pictures, which specializes in story-based training and branding films. His new ebook “How to Teach Ethics and Compliance with Hollywood Movie Clips” is available for free download.



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