“To seek greatness is the only righteous vengeance.” ? Criss Jami
The 20 percent spike is a distinctive strength. It’s unusually powerful.
Using your 20 percent spike generates exponential results.
It’s a way to amplify your impact and maximize results.
In the book, The 80/20 Individual: How to Build on the 20% of What You do Best, Richard Koch writes about the 20 percent spike.
Here are my key takeaways:
- The 20 percent spike is unusually powerful. It’s a distinct and powerful strength. You can leverage your 20 percent spike for extreme advantage.
- The great ones aren’t well rounded. Any significant leader is not well rounded. Superstars have lopsided traits. They have a vital few powerful strengths and they leverage other people for their weaknesses.
- Balance your strengths with other people. Be great at what you’re great at. Spend more time in your strengths and honing your 20 percent spike. Team up to round out the rest of what you need.
You’re probably not doing enough of what you’re already great at.
My 20 Percent Spike Example
My 20 percent spike is information artistry. I use this skill to create, organize, and share complex information in a simple way.
And I can do it better, faster, and easier than most people that I work with. It comes easy to me, and plays to my strengths.
At work, it helps me write more effective books. At home, it helps me learn faster and turn insights into action. And from a service and contribution standpoint, it helps me unleash the best in others.
The 20 Percent Spike Explained
Your 20 percent spike is your distinctive strength.
“What make a CEO, leader, or manager great is what psychologists call the “spike,” and I call the ’20 percent spike.’
The spike is a distinctive strength in a person that is unusually powerful, so it’s in your best interest to train and develop your spike to Olympian standards.”
A Few Fantastic Strengths
A few fantastic strengths are better than well-rounded.
“Do corporate psychologists, who determine whether you or another-short-listed candidate will get the top job, look for well-rounded team players or for oddballs? Intriguingly, the latter.
The psychologist wants unusual characters who have a few fantastic strengths. If you have these, the corporation couldn’t care less about a long laundry list of things you can’t do well or even do at all.”
Any Significant Leader is Not Well-Rounded
Superstars have lopsided traits.
“Gurnek Bains, head of YSC, a leading firm of business psychologists, explains: “Any significant leader is not well-rounded. They’re all quite different, slightly idiosyncratic characters. The best directors have huge spikes and equally large downsides.
Psychoanalyst Michael Maccoby agrees.
He highlights today’s “superstar” leaders and draws attention to their lopsided traits: ‘Today’s CEO’s – superstars such as Bill Gates, Andy Groves, Steve Jobs, Jeff Bezos, and Jack Welch – hire their own publicists, write books, grant spontaneous interviews, and actively promote their personal philosophies … [they] closely resemble the personality type that Sigmund Freud dubbed narcissistic.’”
Creative individuals compensate for weaknesses by leveraging other people who are skilled in those areas.
“Macoby says that such “productive narcissists” have tremendous vision and self-belief yet are anything but team players. Most would not score well on emotional intelligence or the ability to listen to other people.
Not all 80/20 individuals are “productive narcissists,” but many of the new superstars are effective precisely because they are unbalanced.
To compensate for their weaknesses, these creative individuals have entrusted their business to other people who are skilled in those areas.”
Embody the Spirit of Specialization and Expertise
Being a significant leader does not require being well-rounded in every aspect.
Instead, it calls for identifying and embracing your 20 percent spike—the areas where you excel, the talents that set you apart.
I encourage you to focus on honing your unique strengths and leveraging them to their fullest potential. It is through this laser-like focus that you can achieve exceptional results, make a profound impact, and lead with authenticity.
Remember, it is not about trying to be good at everything or conforming to societal expectations. It is about finding your true calling, investing in your natural talents, and continually sharpening your skills in your areas of greatest strength.
By embracing your 20 percent spike, you embody the spirit of specialization and expertise. You become a force to be reckoned with—a leader who stands out among the crowd, bringing a distinct perspective and driving innovation in your field.
So, as you embark on your leadership journey, resist the pressure to be well-rounded. Instead, embrace the power of your unique abilities, passions, and experiences.
Surround yourself with a diverse team, complementing your spike with others’ strengths, and together, you will create a dynamic force that achieves remarkable outcomes.
Remember, it is the leaders who boldly embrace their 20 percent spike and leverage it to its full potential that leave an enduring mark on the world.
Embrace your uniqueness, harness your strengths, and go forth as a leader who dares to excel in their 20 percent spike.
The world is waiting for your remarkable contributions.