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. My 20 percent spike is information artistry. I use this skill to create, organize, and share complex information in a simple way. At work, it helps me write more effective books. At home, it helps me learn faster and turn insights into action. From a service standpoint, it helps me unleash the best in others.
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.
Key Take Aways
Here’s my key take aways:
- 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.
The 20 Percent Spike
Your 20 percent spike is your distinctive strength. Koch writes:
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. Koch writes:
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. Koch writes:
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. Koch writes:
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.
My Related Posts
- Outsource Your 80 Percent
- Give Your Best Where You Have Your Best to Give
- Finding Your Strengths
- Choose Your Jobs Based on Strengths
Photo by TCM Hitchhiker.