The 80/20 principle

80/20 principle

80% of the results are the cause for 20% of the consequences.

The 80/20-principle is a useful tool to work goal oriented.
The FUZZY-method shows that HVO-Querido occasionally works with targets that might seem out-of-the-box. Unrealistic even. The 80/20-principle is a great tool to reach such a creative target.
The principle was created at the beginning of the 20th century by the Italian economist,Virgilio Pareta. It was later generalized by
Joseph Juran. Juran stated that in some situations
80% of the results are the cause for 20% of the consequences.
This is not scientifically proven though. It ís a fact that in
some cases a small share of the causes is responsible for a
big share of the effects. And by recognising those situations,
a relatively small adjustment can have a big impact on most of the effects.
a large part of the consequences (80%).

Example! Complaints about loud screaming and banter until deep into the night. An eviction draws near.

The social worker speaks with our client about the complaints. Together they visit some of the neighbours to offer them a bouquet of flowers, along with wholesome apologies. In and around the client’s house they post post-its with: “Mind the neighbours” and “Keep the volume down”. That’s approach 1. A lot of regard for all kinds of causes and effects. Now let’s look at this from the 80/20-principle perspective. The social worker searches for the cause(s) of the complaints. It appears that most of the disturbance occurs when a certain friend visits. A blond male, 48 years old, who smokes like a chimney. At night time, after drinking lots of liquor, the men attend to move the conversations outside. To prevent the room from turning into a smoke-filled room. They talk and exchange views. Sometimes too loudly, so the social worker and client agree that from now on they will have those discussions in the shed. With the door closed. This solution is in line with the 80/20 principle. By tackling a small part of the causes a big part of the effects are resolved. This approach shows trust. It is just that the outdoor smoking activities are not clever, the rest isn’t an issue. In fact, it’s going great!



The 80/20-principle can also be used in managing and supporting employees. Imagine this: A 35 year old woman from one of the teams organises a party for her collaegues. She books a venue in Amsterdam-Zuid, buys rainbow coloured party festoons at the Action, and marks a day in her calendar to do groceries. She also asks her manager to prepare (and do) a speech. But then fate strikes. A week before the party she gets a severe stomach flu and can’t leave the house.

You can probably understand the panic that arises when something like this happens.

Can the party still go on? Her teammates don’t have a lot of time, but everyone chips in and does what is most essential for the party to continue. Groceries on Thursday. With this relatively small adjustment the party can still continue. The focus stays on that what matters. Despite getting that nasty stomach flu, the woman still organised a successful party.

80/20 principles conclusion

A minor adjustment, like smoking in the shed, creates major results. Complaints drop with 80%, and in this case that is plenty. The client needs to work hard if the social worker wants to tackle the remaining 20%. She also asks her manager to prepare (and do) a speech. But then fate strikes. That wasn’t necessary in the example above, but in some cases it is. The next example shows exactly that.




Imagine that the government for 20 % could make the educational system, healthcare, and the job market, and it would work for 80% of the people. With just 20% of the conceivable effort. Most people would be pleased. In resemblance with the example of smoking in the shed, you would say “problem solved”. Fixing the remaining 20% would mean putting in an extra fivefold of effort (and thus money). But the remaining 20% still covers about 3,5 million people.

They might have more or less intelligence, an extreme level of fantasy (or none), or a lot (or very little) concentration.

The instruments of society might not work in their favour. It happens to be that plenty of our clients are part of that 20%. We’re talking about people here. People who are entitled to getting an equivalent treatment. So we firmly believe that it ís worth the effort to help the remaining 20%, and by creating tailor made solutions we ensure that our clients get the assistance they deserve.


One of our teams invites some applicants. Timid team members are really good at a certain aspect of the accompaniment, acting as ‘avoiders of conflict’. This style of performance largely explains the group’s success (80%). To be a 100% successful, they would need to master all other styles of guidance (or hire another 24 or so what people with a different style). That’s just not realistic. It would be better to keep focus on that specific style that suits you, and find clients who fit that profile.

our approach

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The profiles

We are all different. Even though our social workers work according to the principles of Housing First, they are not the same.

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