Why Small Teams Rock

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Scenario: "Dude, we gotta round up as many people as we can to complete this project. Yay!"

Pop-Quiz Time!

You've decided to enter the lemonade-stand business. You "hire" a team of eight kids: Annie, Bobby, Chrissy, Davey, Ernie, Freddy, Gabby, and Henry.

Now, what's the best way to use your people?

  • a) Build one team of eight:

    "Make some money selling lemonade. Here's the money. Go!"
  • b) Divide them into 2 teams of four.

    "You four get the supplies. The rest of you: find customers for tomorrow! Yay!"
  • c) Divide them into 4 teams of two:

    "You two: Find fabulous lemons, water, and sugar. You two: Get the lemonade cups, napkins, and stand. You two: Find customers. You two: Build some kick-booty marketing materials."
If you answered (c): Ding! Ding! Mutha Ding! Ding! You're right. If you answered (a) or (b), ohhhhhhhhhh-nooooooooooooo!

Large Teams = Blah

You know what happens when you round up 479157328952 troops to work on your project? You reduce:
  1. individual productivity
  2. overall productivity
  3. your company's kick-ass results
Ouch. The next time you're building your revolutionary project, remember: Build small teams to kick major booty.

How Large Teams Suck

If you went with scenario (a) above -- and decided to use one team of eight to get your lemonade-stand up-and-running -- what would happen? Not much. You'd go through the crazy "Who'd-done-it?!" scenario:
  1. Annie: "Bobby must have found those customers for tomorrow."
  2. Bobby: "Not me. Chrissy probably did."
  3. Chrissy: "No! I thought it was Davey."
  4. Davey: "No, I'm not working on it. Ask Ernie."
  5. Ernie: "Not me. Freddy?"
  6. Freddy: "Nope. I didn't do it. Gabby?"
  7. Henry: "Nope, you sons-of-biatches."
The larger the team, the less responsibility and accountability people take for the integral tasks of a project. The results? Sucky.

Why Small Teams Rock

Compared to humongous firms like Fortune 500s, small teams like little startups or 1-person companies rock the shizzle out of their productivity. Why? They're more agile, they respond faster to whatever conditions they have, and each and every soul on the team works like a mofo -- and is a mad contributor to the company's overall health. There's no "Who'd-done-it?!" here because sad results can be traced back directly to individuals. That makes people more accountable to their jobs, and to the overall results -- and keeps them rockin'.

How Small Teams Boost Results

When you break down your team of eight into four teams of two -- and give them clearly defined roles, you optimize every part of that team. It's like your building a soccer team. Instead of just setting a bunch of players free, you're building mini-teams of (1) attackers, (2) midfielders, and (3) defenders. That ensures you strengthen every important part of your organization to achieve the sweet results you desire.

The 3-Step Process to Rocking with Small Teams

Here's what we recommend in building small teams:
  1. Define your ultimate destination.

    "We want to bike to Las Vegas by next week!"
  2. Break the ultimate destination into clear, small tasks.

    "We need to get to San Jose first. Then, Bakersfield. Then, Apple Valley. Then Henderson. Then, Vegas!"
  3. Assign those tasks to small teams.

    "Annie/Bobby, find the route to San Jose. Chrissy/Davy, know the way from San Jose to Bakersfield. Ernie/Freddy, connect Bakersfield to Apple Valley. Henry, you and I will find the path from Apple Valley to Vegas. We'll meet tomorrow to patch everything together."
Rule of thumb: The more "mini-teams with clearly-defined-tasks" you can build, the more productive you'll see your business. And yes: a team, within a team, within a team works fabulously.

Small teams rock booty.

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Posted on December 12

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