Price’s Law – Why does this feel like it might be true?

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Price’s Law states that the square root of the number of people in a domain do 50% of the work. What this means is:

  • 10 employees: 3 of them do 1/2 the work
  • 100 employees: 10 of them do 1/2 the work
  • 10,000 employees: 100 of them do 1/2 the work

I’ve certainly worked in and been a leader of companies where the real engine rooms of a company and its culture were highly visible. I’m also sure that sometimes these people could go unnoticed and under-appreciated.

How would you summarise the challenges here:

  • How do you recognise the key people driving your business?
  • How do you retain the key people?
  • How do you ensure these key people are not resentful?
  • How do you spot the people underperforming?
  • How do you break Price’s Law? And increase the proportion of people doing the work?

I certainly think Performance Management will play a big part in solving some of these challenges, and this will include Goal Setting, 1-on-1’s, 360 reviews etc. as these systems will provide visibility on the performers and under performers.

The spotlight should not just been on non-managerial employees though. I think you’ve got to assume that a lack of engagement by some people is not due to their desire to not engage and work hard, it’s due to poor management of human talent.

Evaluating a manager’s ability to manage as well as a non-managerial reportees ability to perform is essential – especially in an agile working environment. Are your leaders any good at leading, motivating, mentoring, educating, and hopefully rarely, holding to account and policing? Or is the opposite true?

Often the questions can be answered when you write great OKR examples and start using OKR software designed to measure employee and team performance, company culture, wellbeing and personal development.