Friday, 11 February 2011

My take on the Pareto Principle

The Pareto Principle used to be much quoted in marketing circles; it has probably been replaced by something rather nerdy by now. It owes its origins to German economist,  Joseph M Juran who named it after an Italian, one Vilfredo Pareto.
In 1906 Vilfredo noted that, 80% of the real estate in Italy was owned by 20% of the people. He went on to discover that 20% of the pea pods growing in his garden contained 80% of the crop.
Translated into commercial terms it materialises as 80% of sales coming from 20% of your customer base and all permutations thereof. It does actually often work, surprisingly accurately.

Well, Vilfredo, take a break because I have a different principle to propound although sheer modesty and an innate sense of self consciousness forbids me from calling it the Collins Principle.
It is, I suppose, an offshoot from Pareto and it relates to both people and experiences. Take people first. My priniciple holds that one third of, say, school teachers are excellent, one third mediocre and one third downright fit for the dole queue. I have based this on my experiences in dealing with teachers over many years of bringing up four children and of even more years of working in the sector.
Rubbish! I hear all you teachers shout but, wait awhile and look at a different scenario.
Take GPs in their surgeries, it works for them. In fact, it works for just about every sector of employed personnel (policemen, nurses, hotel receptionists, dustmen, it is nothing if not even handed in its application.
Now for experiences; take your wife/husband out for a meal. Did you enjoy it? Was it awful? Was it just, you know, sort of alright-ish? Yes, it was 33.3% every time. Same for holidays, films at the cinema and so on.

What has this got to do with the Catholic Faith you are now muttering in a somewhat agitated state. At last, I arrive at the point. Priests. yes, priests. I have had a go at the Bishops and so I feel it is now only fair to direct my comments to Catholic priests.

If my principle of three thirds holds true, it does mean that excellence is only apparent in a fraction of the priestly population. Sadly, I believe that it is true. I know of many, many priests who let the side down by their lack of effort, by their dress code, by their sloppy regard for liturgical niceties and for Canon Law. Another third are, how shall I put it? Treading water? plateauing ? (as we used to say about a person who has advanced so far in their career but doesn't push to go further).
Thankfully, we have the elite third who mirror Christ in all that they do and who are worthy of our constant thanks - all being worthy of our prayers.
Of course, it would be wrong to begin to name them; they would not want that but we all know who they are and where they may be found, God bless them.

1 comment:

  1. And the 'sitting out the B16 Pontificate brigade?
    Do they belong in your first or second third?