I was just looking at “The Discipline of Teams” by Katzenbach and Smith. These are the same gentlemen who wrote “The Wisdom of Teams.”
First, my strong bias (which I find is reinforced in many places, including this book) is that all “real work” these days takes place in teams. (Yes, I need to add some caveats, but it’s still basically true. IMHO.)
Chapter 5 of their book is titled “Applying the Team Discipline: Number & Skill.” The subhead is “A small number — ideally less than 10…”
They give six long reasons why large groups are not teams (or, at least, don’t have the discipline of a winning team, as they [and I] see it).
I will summarize:
- Large groups cannot easily or frequently meet together.
- Large groups are biased toward efficient meetings. (Why is this a bad thing?!?! Well, efficiency is not creative, for one.)
- Large groups are biased toward hierarchical leadership.
- Large groups are biased toward stable roles.
- Large groups usually fail to build common understanding and commitment.
- Large groups often subdivide, (and) create smaller teams (sub-teams).
If your culture does not immediately know that a team is nine or less, you need to study in this area. Get all the help you can to knock down this impediment.