Whilst it would seemingly stand to reason that a bigger team includes more minds and therefore a larger scope for positive output, quite often the reverse is true. One of the most successful companies in the world operates a ‘two pizza’ rule. An article on The Guardian explains that CEO Jeff Bezos initiated a rule: […]
Whilst it would seemingly stand to reason that a bigger team includes more minds and therefore a larger scope for positive output, quite often the reverse is true.
One of the most successful companies in the world operates a ‘two pizza’ rule. An article on The Guardian explains that CEO Jeff Bezos initiated a rule: every internal team should be small enough to be fed with two pizzas. It’s a model that has certainly yielded results for the online giant, but that can also benefit your business.
Working with a small team does have its drawbacks. Manpower is critical to a business’ success and a small team can limit the amount of ‘boots on the ground’. A customer-facing company benefits from having more staff, with plenty of jobs to go around. Ayima’s guide to kickstarting your online marketing explains how even when it comes to having an online presence, a lack of resource can be a major problem.
Away from pure resources though, there are plenty of positives that can be drawn from operating with a smaller team, three of which we are going to examine below.
Communication is key to all good business models and there is plenty of evidence to suggest that smaller teams communicate far better. In a small team, there are fewer people to remain in touch with and it is easy to understand how each person’s role works within the group.
Good communication acts as a catalyst for increased productivity and an improved ability to work together. Medium outlines how a study run by UCLA, Penn State and Chapel Hill found smaller teams able to complete Lego building quicker than big teams.
The bigger the team, the easier it is to become disengaged or feel that one’s worth is diminished by the presence of so many people. If you have fewer people in a team then everyone understands how critical they are to the process, as well as how others are relying on them.
This is exemplified by the Ringelmann Effect. A report by Team Strength discusses how in 1931 a French professor of agricultural engineering named Max Ringelmann conducted a study. He asked a group to pull on a rope, both as individuals and as part of a team. He found individuals pulled harder than those in a team, with less effort expended as the team numbers increased.
It would seem logical that more minds equal more innovation, but Redstation suggests that may not be the case at all. They speculate that it is easier for people in smaller groups to voice their concerns or ideas, without the louder voices drowning them out.
Indeed, it’s suggested that scheduling meetings with smaller numbers might prompt some less vocal members of the team to not only speak up about ideas but also concerns, as it is easy to go against the flow in a smaller group than a larger one.
This would also be applicable to floating your own ideas to the team; a smaller group is less likely to be compliant if they see an issue with your plans.
If you’re not quite at the stage where you’re managing your teams, but you are still hoping to attract skilled individuals to your business, be sure to check out our guide on ‘Top tips to going the extra mile to attract top talent’.
Need advice or help building your employer brand? Get in touch with Wonderful Workplaces on firstname.lastname@example.org
Jamie Barns works as a recruitment specialist for a tech startup. She’s seen firsthand how much value potential employees put into wellness and how they gravitate towards companies that display genuine concern about their employees. In her free time, she blogs about how companies can improve their brand and bring their recruitment goals into the 21st century.