The 80% Approach

The 80% Approach bookAt only 35 pages The 80% Approach by Dan Sullivan is a deceptively short book, but it is built around an idea that can eliminate the paralysis of perfection and procrastination.

I first heard of Dan Sullivan when I was a member of Alex Jeffrey’s Inner Circle a couple of years ago. Alex had signed up to Dan’s training and had opted to make regular trips to Canada to be trained personally by Dan rather than by one of his representatives in the UK.

Every so often Alex would give us little snippets of what he had learned and gave the impression that often it involved little changes that would produce effective improvements to a business.

The 80% Approach is one such improvement and basically states that most projects will be good enough if they are 80% as good as you hoped they would be when you started. Put another way, just achieving 80% of what you wanted as a first attempt is often good enough. You don’t have to do any revisions or improvements, it’s time to move on to the next project without dotting i’s and  crossing t’s.

This mindset stops the onset of perfectionism and lets you achieve more, quicker.

Even if achieving 80% of what you set out to do is not good enough you simply apply the principle again. Whatever remains to be done you only attempt to complete 80% of it. Adding this 80% of improvement to the original 80% achieved will mean that overall you will have achieved 96% of your original target. In business this 96% is often good enough to consider the project done. In fact it’s often more than enough to eclipse the efforts of your competitors.

There’s more to the 80% approach than this and Dan Sullivan identifies eight advantages of using this approach and also gives tips for starting to take advantage of this approach, but I’ve covered the basic principle.

Obviously there are situations where a project or endeavour would ideally achieve more than 80 or 96 % of its targets. I wouldn’t want to be undergoing heart surgery or be a passenger on a plane where the people producing the results were going to be content with 80% of the ideal result. However in business and especially online marketing, where the competition often leaves a lot to be desired, this approach can be useful for breaking out of the perfectionism/procrastination trap.

The 80% Approach is just part of the coaching that Dan Sullivan and his company Strategic Coach provide. Most of this is probably beyond the pocket of the new entrepreneur, but both this book and Learning How To Avoid The Gap, which I reviewed here, give a taster of the useful training available. Definitely something to consider when your business has grown to a certain size.

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    1. It takes some discipline to avoid falling into the usual ‘100% approach’ if you’re a perfectionist or procrastinator, but it’s worth the effort.

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