Today's Challenge: Team Size

One of the many decisions every leader must make is what structure will best enable his or her organization to accomplish its work. If you decide a team approach makes sense, then you get to wrestle with the question… How many people should be on a team?

The answer is: there’s no right answer. However, if you’re trying to create a high performance team charged with managing work and improving performance, a smaller team increases your likelihood of success – Five to ten members is a good rule of thumb to optimize performance.
If you do decide to create a larger team, you’ll need a more aggressive facilitator. When you get a large team together, it’s more difficult to involve everyone. Large teams can create space for people to hide. You can’t afford to have any spectators on a high performance team.
Just as extremely large teams present a challenge, so do very small teams. One of the more basic disadvantages is the loss of multiple voices and diverse experience. If you want to increase the voices without increasing the number of team members on the core team, you may consider bringing in Subject Matter Experts (SME) as needed.
In the absence of a formula or an equation to find the correct answer to the question of team size, I’ll conclude with this challenge:
Put only enough people around the table to ensure the work is done with excellence and no more.
Enjoy the journey![GLS_Shield]

Leave a comment



Scott

6 years ago

Mark,
Great post. As far as large teams go, what I’ve found that works to inhibit people to “hide” is really putting a lot of responsibility on those that directly report to me. Really pouring into the leaders below me and helping them to grow is a really great tool to ensure that a large team is managed well.

mark

6 years ago

Responsibility is a great tool. Some would say it’s the only way for emerging leaders to really learn. Keep it up! Thanks for joining the conversation! Mark

Kimunya Mugo

6 years ago

Thank you for sharing this very practical piece Mark.
What happens when you have to work with teams as an outsider, that is, a coach or consultant? Would you treat this as a larger team and try to identify an aggressive facilitator on the inside?

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