Engaging with Your 20-60-20 in a Shifting Market

Published: May 26, 2020

In late summer of 2018, I shared my take on spending time with your people and why it is so important. I want to revisit this topic today and reiterate why this is so vital to you and your team’s success, especially during this time of shift and change.

First, let’s get a refresher of what is and who makes up the bell curve of your team — the 20-60-20:

  • The top 20% are typically the most focused and most driven. They are the ones who put in the most elbow grease, therefore getting the most results. These team members are probably not just hitting their goals, but exceeding them.
  • The bottom 20% are the weakest links, and they usually know who they are. This group typically has more personal issues going on. They are most likely the team members with many excuses for why they are not achieving their goals.
  • The middle 60% are just there. They are not the ones knocking down performance goals, or making history. However, they do not rely on excuses or personal issues to takeover either. They simply strive to hit their goals, and usually no more or less.

Everyone on your team has the same opportunity and path to succeed, but, as you know, not everyone will do the work necessary to succeed. As our world continues to change and adapt to these uncertain times, the bottom 20% will be exposed for what they lack and will likely have a difficult time staying afloat. On the contrary, the top 20% have been (unknowingly) training for this their entire careers and are now in the position to take advantage of new opportunities that come their way.

Right now more than ever, I want you to focus your time on the Top 20%. Pour your time, energy, and effort into these people who are pouring into their own success. As our industry continues to shift, it is vital that we work alongside our top performers and help them capitalize on opportunities. Perhaps this means you spend more 1-on-1 time with these individuals, or maybe you are checking in with them more regularly. Helping your top performers succeed in this shifting market will reinforce their trust and loyalty in you. 

As I said in the previous article, you do not want to spend all of your time and effort on the 60%, but you also do not want to ignore or neglect them either. Find a happy medium here. What can you share with them or provide them with to help them continue to grow right now — books, articles, videos, etc.? How can you leverage things that you are doing for your 20% that they, too, can learn from (but they may not have “front row” seats to attend)? Remember, members of your current 60% are future top 20 %ers, so developing your bench players while the starters are on the court is essential to future prosperity.  

Crisis exposes things in our business, and our people have a light shining on them like never before.  A shifting market will show us which of our people are willing to do whatever it takes to succeed and thrive, and expose which of those are timid and will let opportunity pass them by.

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