Staff Tipped on Work Productivity; Lessons from Pareto Principle

Prof. Ngamau gives his remarks

The Pareto Principle, also known as the Law of the Vital Few and the Trivial Many, the 80/20 rule, or the Principle of Factor Sparsity states that, for many events, roughly 80% of the effects come from 20% of the causes.

Management consultant Joseph M. Juran suggested the principle and named it after Italian economist Vilfredo Pareto, who noted the 80/20 connection while at the University of Lausanne in 1896, as published in his first work: Cours d’économie politique; in it, Pareto showed that approximately 80% of the land in Italy was owned by 20% of the population. This principle has since been applied across different disciplines from Mathematics, Sports, Computing, Economics, Business, to Organizational Management, among others.

It is an axiom of business management that 80% of sales come from 20% of clients, and that 80% of the success of an organization could hinge on just 20% of the employees who are productive and dedicated.

This principle formed one of the key tenets of Prof. Kamau Ngamau’s presentation at the JKUAT Staff Prayer Service, organized to dedicate the New Year to God.

Prof. Kamau, who is also the Vice Chancellor, Co-operative University of Kenya, was the main speaker at this years’ service, held 20th February, 2020 at the University Assembly Hall.

Prof. Ngumi is joined by other members of the University Management and staff for the service

Invoking the 80/20 rule, he urged the staff members to identify which 20% of their activities are generating 80% of their results, and focus attention and efforts on those crucial elements rather than the larger portion yielding only minuscule returns by comparison.

“In order to succeed, employees must therefore shun absenteeism, gossiping, poor communication practices, lateness, procrastination and time wastage. This will boost productivity and enhance cohesion in the work environment,” he further posited.  

According to Prof. Ngamau, poor work ethic and poor attitude is responsible for poor delivery of services, especially in the Public Sector, hence the need to embrace the 80/20 rule in virtually all aspects of life. “Ability, performance, and motivation is key for changing the work culture. The 80-20 rule, if properly applied, will allow you to allocate your time effectively and assist stakeholders in prioritizing requirements to ensure the business gets maximum returns on its investments.”

The JKUAT Vice Chancellor, Prof. Victoria Wambui Ngumi, while echoing Prof. Ngamau’s assertions, urged staff members to embrace teamwork and properly manage their time in order to accomplish set priorities in their respective designations.

She acknowledged the Chaplaincy Department for organizing the dedication service, and the staff members for attending the same. She thanked staff members for their support in the running of the University, and challenged them to always commit their work to God, and continue working together to maintain the institution’s reputation as a University of Global Excellence.

Section of staff during the service

“Our prayer is that this year will be year of success and prosperity to all and indeed the entire University. Let us put our trust in God to take care of us throughout the year and come December 2020, we will proudly congregate here again to give thanks to Him for the far He will have taken us,” she concluded.

The service was also addressed by Deputy Vice Chancellors; Prof. Mary Abukutsa (RPE), Prof. Bernard Ikua (Administration), Prof. Robert Kinyua (Academic Affairs), Dean School of Biological Sciences, Dr. Shadrack Muya, among others.

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