I’m doing some research on creative leadership for a client session this week and came across this brilliant shorthand for building great teams by the legendary CEO of Amazon Jeff Bezos. In a bid to rule out what’s been termed ‘groupthink’ – that is decision by committee written about by the New York Times – Bezos has what he calls the ‘2 pizza rule’. Teams should be as small as possible to remain nimble and to avoid complacency. If the team working on something can’t be fed with 2 pizzas then it is considered too big. It’s an interesting thought when working with teams and agencies – we’re often asked to facilitate meetings with over 20 people in the room and the client often seems disappointed when we say this is quite a large, unwieldy group if consensus needs to be reached. Of course it can be done but it can become political and time-consuming managing personalities rather than dealing with the task at hand which is often a chewy creative challenge or problem to be solved.
The same goes for a group brainstorm – can you really get the best out of a large group? Wouldn’t it be better to work in creative pairs, or alone on the problem for a while? Maybe coming together over that pizza to discuss your ideas.
So next time you compile a project team ask yourself whether they meet the 2 pizza rule and if not maybe someone should be sent home hungry.