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The topic for today is “the Pareto Principle”.

Task 1
Read the text below to get the general idea:

Making decisions appears a tough issue not only for managers but employees as well. They find analyzing problems equally difficult as prioritizing tasks. That is probably why finding a suitable solution is so time-consuming and challenging. Having a number of tasks to deal with at once can make everybody feel overwhelmed and lost by not knowing what to start with.

And here comes the Pareto Principle based on the ‘80/20’ rule. Invented in the late 1940s by a famous management guru, Joseph M. Juran, and named after a well-known Italian economist, Vilfredo Pareto, the proportion shows the relationship between causes and results. It states clearly that in all situations (business related or everyday life) 20% of causes generate 80% of results. The figures are only illustrative, but they vividly show the lack of symmetry which often appears between the amount of input and the final outcome. The idea simply means that by doing roughly 20% of the work you can achieve about 80% of the benefit. In terms of quality management these numbers imply that a large majority of problems are produced by a fraction of causes. So, to implement the Pareto Principle in practice, all you need to do is just to find the 20% of work that will bring the 80% of the positive results of your entire job. In decision-making processes, the Pareto Analysis helps eliminate statistically vital input factors which have the greatest impact on the outcome.

The Pareto Analysis, therefore, enables to prioritize tasks or problems according to their importance. There are 6 straightforward steps to follow in order to successfully deal with top-priority issues:

1. Identify and list the problems.
2. Identify the root cause of each problem.
3. Score problems.
4. Group problems together by root cause.
5. Add up the scores for each group.
6. Take action.

Keeping in mind that your highest priority is the group with the top score, you will soon discover that the lowest score group is your lowest priority task, and therefore it can be postponed. Using the Pareto Principle appropriately will undoubtedly improve your work efficiency and job satisfaction.

Task 2

Study the text carefully and answer the comprehension check questions below:

  1. What does the author think about making decisions?……………………………………………………………………………
  2. Why is solving a problem such a challenge for most employees?……………………………………………………………………………
  3. What rule is the Pareto Principle based on?……………………………………………………………………………
  4. Who invented the proportion?……………………………………………………………………………
  5. When was it invented?……………………………………………………………………………
  6. Who was the proportion named after?……………………………………………………………………………
  7. What do the numbers stand for?……………………………………………………………………………
  8. What does the rule imply?……………………………………………………………………………
  9. Where can the Pareto Analysis be applied?……………………………………………………………………………
  10. How many steps have been distinguished in the Pareto Analysis?……………………………………………………………………………

Task 3
Watch the video “How to be …” and mark the sentences below as T (true) or F (false):

  1. According to the video, 80% of customers make complaints. …..
  2. By the principle, 80% of effects come from 20% of causes. …..
  3. The Pareto Principle can be applied to business and human relations. …..
  4. The speaker used to publish a lot of articles on his own website. …..
  5. The man spent equally the same amount of time on all social media websites. …..
  6. The author was satisfied with his website performance data. …..
  7. In college the speaker had a very wide circle of friends. …..
  8. The speaker realized that only 2 or 3 people truly contributed to his life. …..
  9. Being present with a person doesn’t mean spending time together. …..
  10. Women tend to complain about the value of time spent with men. …..

ANSWER KEY

Task 2                                                                     
1. It is a tough issue for most people.
2. Because it is difficult, time consuming and people seem lost not knowing where to start.
3. The 80/20 rule.
4. Joseph M. Juran, a management guru.
5. In the late 1940s.
6. Vilfredo Pareto, an Italian economist.
7. The relationship between causes and effects.
8. 20% of causes generate 80% of results.
9. Both in business and everyday life.
10. 6

Task 3
1. F
2. T
3. T
4. F
5. T
6. F
7. F
8. T
9. T
10. F