About 10% of any group or organization of people will never change no matter what you do or what you tell them. Their minds are made up. Don’t confuse them with the facts! These 10%ers can be VERY challenging to leaders and supervisors as they tend to resist any efforts to initiate change within the organization.

There is another 10% that will change very readily if you just present them with the facts. If you can show them why Plan A is better than the status quo, they tend to accept that change very easily and even enthusiastically. We sometimes wish there were more than 10% of these folks around!

But there is a majority, the 80%ers, who will change, but only within the context of a trust-based relationship. This underscores the Coactivity Maxim that the power for effective change rests within our relationships. This is why your Team-Building Roles, those based on the power of relationships, are so important for bringing about organizational change. By building the internal relationships first, you create an environment that is conducive to positive change and you will encounter less resistance in the future.

10-10-80 Rule

Think about in the context of cigarette smokers. About 10% of them are never going to quit no matter what. Some of them will be on their death beds with an oxygen mask in one hand and a cigarette in the other!

Another 10% will quit if you present them with the facts. Show them a diseased lung or some valid research and they will throw their cigarettes away. In fact, there has been such a successful anti-smoking educational campaign in our country that most of these 10%ers quit a long time ago.

But the 80%ers will only quit when the power of a trust-based relationship is brought to bear on the problem. It will take a son or a daughter, or a grandchild, crawling up on their lap and saying, “Daddy, I really love you. And I want you to be around for a long, long time. But I know that smoking will cause you to die early. I don’t want to lose you. And besides, it makes your clothes and your breath smell icky…” Within that context, the person may very well quit. That’s the power of the 10-10-80 Rule. Work on the relationships first. The change will be much easier later…

Sheriff Ray


About the Author


2 Responses to The 10-10-80 Rule

  1. Chris Welman says:

    Great principle, Ray! It holds true in Ministry as well, and with your permission, I plan to use this principle in one of my upcoming lessons to encourage students to get involved in ministry, and to encourage leaders to understand this challenge in their own ministries.

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