He pioneered the idea that we can achieve more if we relax, if we enjoy life more, and if we focus on the few things that matter uniquely to each individual. Koch graduated from Oxford University and subsequently obtained an MBA from the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania. Koch, who initially studied History and ended up in finance, admits that he hated his first job. “When we had induction and then already at 21 years of age, they were talking about pension schemes and explaining the possibility of retiring at 50, it was a depressing thought,” reminisces Koch.
He lives mainly in Portugal, but also owns homes in Cape Town in South Africa, and in the south of Spain near Estepona. He spends his time writing, relaxing, playing tennis and cycling, all while looking into investing in companies with bright futures. Previously, he was a manager at Boston Consulting Group and, later, a partner at Bain and Company before leaving to start management consulting firm LEK Consulting with Jim Lawrence and Iain Evans. Koch has authored or co-authored around 20 books dealing with business, ideas, and personal success.
How It All Started
“I received an email from an author – Matthew Kelly. At the time he was the number one writer for non-fiction,” explains Koch. Kelly wanted Koch to write a book, as he could not believe how little the Pareto Principle was being practised in corporate America. He wanted to see the book on every senior executive or entrepreneur’s desk. So he convinced Koch to write a book on the 80/20 rule for individuals and on how to manage their careers or business.
In 1997, The 80/20 Principle pioneered a reinterpretation of the Pareto Rule – extending the idea that most worthwhile results come from a small minority of effort in business, where it was well known, to include personal life and careers. The book, which was substantially updated in 2007, has become a business classic. The 80/20 Principle has sold over 1-million copies and has been translated into 34 languages.
“The Thesis behind the book is that you do not have to work hard and put in the long hours, but rather to focus on productive forces. One can achieve fantastic results if you just think in a different way,” says Koch. The book identified 10 different ways managers can get the edge and give a professional service to core customers or clients. The performance of people just through paying attention can improve tenfold. Changing simple ideas doesn’t involve much time at all; 30 seconds can make a huge difference to one’s work and life.
Koch read the book by Alfredo Pareto while in the Oxford Library when he was 19 years old. The idea which led the Italian economist to the famous principle “set his mind ablaze”. Pareto had investigated statistics on relationships between people and money and the wealth of nations. This information would, according to Koch, excite any mathematician or economist.
The 80/20 Principle
To summarise, the 80/20 Principle is simple: how to achieve more with less. This is done by increasing your effectiveness and that of your team, and by learning how to focus on work that will produce results. If you could achieve more with less effort, time and resources, would you be interested? With the 80/20 Principle, you can do just that by transforming your approach to work and increasing your organisation’s effectiveness. Koch explains how the 80/20 Principle – the fact that 80% of the results flow from 20% of the causes – is the key to taking control personally and professionally. Most of what we do has trivial results. The book discovers how to channel your energy into the little of what we do that really matters.
When attending or speaking at various conferences and launches, Koch was amazed to see that his audience – specifically that at the London Business Forum in November 2012 – had no idea what he was talking about. “I’m constantly thinking about it because I wrote the book. This has been my life for the last 15 years. So it seems bizarre that others do not share the same thought patterns. Hence the reason for my book,” says Koch.
In 2013, Koch would like to focus on marketing strategies for his latest book. Through his website and blog, he shares snippets of knowledge and he is hoping to deliver more speeches to ‘get the word out there’. Koch says he is happy to answers readers’ queries or questions through his website (www.richardkoch.net) or via e-mail. The premise of the 80/20 Manager? Koch says it is to THINK CAREFULLY.
On 28 March 2013, at the Progress Conference on The 80/20 Leader – 10 Ways To Achieve Extraordinary Results, Richard Koch will present his sound, evidence-based solutions so you can figure out the 20% activity that produces 80% of your results and then… become the great leader that is the best possible version of yourself. For more information visit www.theprogressconference.com
Focus on Excellence - Titans
Richard Koch, a former management consultant, is an entrepreneur and author of numerous books. He has also used his concepts to make a fortune from several private equity investments. Eagerly awaited and due to be published in April 2013 by the Little, Brown Book Group is The 80/20 Manager, which gives 10 different ways that managers can achieve extraordinary results with ordinary effort.
In his first book, The 80/20 Principle – the Secret of Achieving More with Less, Koch asserted that a minority of causes, inputs or effort usually leads to a majority of the results, outputs or records. In his second book on the 80/20 phenomenon, The Power Laws, he discussed the principle as a fundamental law on how the universe works, and saw the process of evolution, as described by Charles Darwin, as a special case of the 80/20 Principle at work. In his book, Living the 80/20 Way, Koch focused exclusively on how to succeed personally as well as professionally, and on how to make a good life as well as a living – all while doing less.
Putting Theory into Practice
by Shalane van Rensburg