- Leandro Herrero - https://leandroherrero.com -

The Twenty Percenters

It is said that in any organization, 20% of the people do 80% of the work. I often think that this is conservative and strictly Pareto, but, in some places I know it may only be 5 %.

These, lets call them twenty percenters, are an heterogeneous group, but it contains real, real gems. If you discount the workaholics who grab work and spaces as part of their daily dose, and the ones that don’t want to do it but are forced to, the rest are Rough Corporate Diamond.

These are people who jump in, you hear them saying ‘I’ll do that’ or ‘can I help you’ or ‘I’ll take this one’. Other tribal expressions of this luxury species are ‘leave it with me’, and ‘count on me’.

These people deserve the status of Protected Species and a double bonus, the order is not important.

You see them in meetings taking notes and sharing them with all, when nobody has asked them to do so, and when the risk is that nobody will. They feel duties that nobody else does. They have levels of commitment several standard deviations from the norm. They are pretty silent about that. They tend to be humble, but not fools; unassuming but not invisible; incredibly helpful without necessarily stepping into well known other’s shoes. Employee Engagement Questionnaires have no questions to identify them.

They are particularly sensitive to the organization’s Structural (Accountability) Holes: those grey areas full of orphan topics and actions. They take accountability. They are the Twenty Percenters.

If you don’t know them, you need to improve your social skills and buy a pair of spectacles. If, as leader, you know them, say a big thanks, tell them that they are not taken for granted, tell them how proud and privileged you are to have them.

As an organizational architect for many years, I see them from a distance. If I have to create a client project team working with me, I want them in. I’ll be honest, the main reason is because I know we’ll get things done. But the second reason is because I know, it will be a joy to work with them.

Featured in Camino – Leadership Notes on the Road [1] – available to purchase from all major online bookstores.


Dr Leandro Herrero is the CEO and Chief Organization Architect of The Chalfont Project [2], an international firm of organizational architects. He is the pioneer of Viral Change™ [3], a people Mobilizing Platform, a methodology that delivers large scale behavioural and cultural change in organizations, which creates lasting capacity for changeability.

Dr Herrero is also an Executive Fellow at the Centre for the Future of Organization, Drucker School of Management.

An international speaker, Dr Herrero is regularly invited to speak at global conferences and corporate events. To invite Leandro to speak at your conference or business event contact: The Chalfont Project [4] or email: uk-office@thechalfontproject.com. [5]