Schools and school systems of all sizes bring people together to make decisions. In fact, site-based decision-making is a hallmark of many organizations for good reasons. When stakeholders come together to consider issues and make recommendations for the future, buy-in from the larger organization follows. But the size of the group can make a big difference in its effectiveness.
If there are too few members on a committee, it can become difficult to represent diverse perspectives and more work may fall on the shoulders of a few. Conversely, when there are too many people trying to come to consensus, it can be unwieldy. When decisions take too long and are arduous, the system can appear sluggish. When there are too many people trying to work together, they can just get in one another’s way or may simply agree with the group rather than voice their own opinions and ideas. All of these negative outcomes as a result of ineffective team size can erode faith among employees and the community in your school system’s ability to make decisions.
Amazon’s Jeff Bezos has a solution for this problem. He calls it the “Two Pizza Rule”: Never have a meeting where two pizzas couldn’t feed the entire group. If you think about this simple rule, it makes sense. A moderate-sized group eating two pizzas around a conference room table embodies a sense of coziness that contributes to tight-knit social relationships. Recent studies suggest that smaller teams tend to be more productive than larger ones. Furthermore, teams with members who have more face time and social contact with one another often prove to be more productive.
The idea isn’t to force people to make after-hour friends with other coworkers or community members. However, it benefits all when people interact with one another in the break room or the conference room. As a leader you can model behaviors that promote a deeper knowledge of other people on a personal level when they’re asked to work together. When you talk about your family and ask others about their private lives, it can develop a bond that carries through in meetings where tough decisions need to be made.
Jeff Bezos is certainly a smart guy. After all, he leads one of the biggest and most successful corporations in the world. It might benefit you to consider the Two Pizza Rule when your organization determines the makeup of your next committee or advisory group.
Giang, V. (2013, October 29). The ‘two pizza rule’ is Jeff Bezos’ secret to productive meetings. Business Insider. Retrieved from www.businessinsider.com/jeff-bezos-two-pizza-rule-for-productive-meetings-2013-10