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Why Every Productive Leader Should Apply Jeff Bezos’s Two-Pizza Rules To Their Team

Why Every Productive Leader Should Apply Jeff Bezos’s Two-Pizza Rules To Their Team

Pizza is one of my favorite foods and honestly speaking, who doesn’t love this yummy dish! Even when it comes to communication at workplace, I believe that everyone who aspires to be a productive leader should look into the famous two-pizza team rule.

Does it sound intriguing? Whether you have already heard about it or not, this rule is quite interesting and practical in today’s organizations.

What is the two-pizza team rule for productive leaders?

So, let’s get straight to the point. What is a two-pizza team rule?

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To put it very simply, this rule suggests that the number of people in a team should not exceed what two pizzas can feed! According to some experts, this number is 5, whereas others say it is 7. However, most agree on one thing. The number of people in a team should NOT exceed 10. Plainly put, it means the team members should be in single digit.

Wondering who came up with this unique idea? It was Jeff Bezos and who hasn’t heard of Jeff Bezos? He’s the founder and CEO of Amazon.com. Generally, when we want things to work well, it is said that communication should be increased. Jeff Bezos disagrees!

According to him, “communication is terrible!” There is a reason why he believes it. As team size increases, the quality of communication keeps deteriorating. This is particularly true in case of group meetings. In a larger meeting, people often do not speak up and fall to the tendency of group thinking. Contrary to this, in smaller groups, creative thinking flows and conversations between people are more productive.

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The relevance of two-pizza team rule in today’s organizations

Okay, so Jeff came up with the two-pizza team rule but how do we know that it really works? The biggest reason why we believe this, is the success of Amazon.com.

Furthermore, the two-pizza rule is now supported by ample research and evidence. The problems with larger teams have increasingly been pointed out by researchers and experts, leading us to believe that team size, in fact, should be small.

Researchers Bradley Staats, Katherine Milkman, and Craig R. Fox point out in their article “The team scaling fallacy: Underestimating the declining efficiency of larger teams” that when working in teams, there is a tendency “to increasingly underestimate task completion time as team size grows.”

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Obviously, when the team size grows, connections or links between team members increase. Due to this fact, the connections often become unmanageable. This problem was highlighted by J. Richard Hackman, who is an organizational psychologist and expert on team dynamics. As a productive leader, you want your communication channels to be clear and open all the time.

Another issue is that members in larger teams seem to be more stressed. When psychologist Jennifer Muelle conducted a study with people working in varying team sizes, she suggested that people experience “relational loss” as the team size grows. Due to the loss of closeness and bonding, people become more stressed in larger teams.

Applying the two-pizza rule to your company

Let’s say, we are impressed with the two-pizza rule now and want to apply it to our own company. What to do? How to go about it? Here are some simple, practical ways of doing it successfully.

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  • As the rule says, limit the number of people in a team. However, you might be wondering how to do it because of your organization’s structure or way of working. This can be done by forming sub-groups within larger groups. Sub-groups can be practically as effective as small groups and then they can interact within the larger group as and when required.
  • Plan some event when people can hang out together. Having smaller work teams or meetings surely does not mean that the employees in an organization shouldn’t socialize in larger gatherings sometimes. These events can foster organization culture and mutual values and can leave employees rejuvenated for further tasks.
  •  If the team is not coming up with enough creative ideas or productivity, you can try formalizing communication. You might wonder that this may lead to an increase in time wastage but trust us, sometimes formal communication, due to its lack of confusion, results in more organized work and great results.

Do apply the rules to your organization and share the results and your own tips with us.

Featured photo credit: by kevin dooley via flickr.com

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Lianne Martha Maiquez Laroya

Lianne is a licensed financial advisor, Registered Financial Planner, entrepreneur and book author.

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Last Updated on September 17, 2020

5 Practical Ways to Get Over a Mental Block

5 Practical Ways to Get Over a Mental Block

There’s nothing quite like a state of “flow” when you’re working. The rare moments when your inspiration aligns with your motivation likely lead to some of your most creative work. Plus, it feels great to actually check a task or project off the list so you can move on to the next thing. Meanwhile, a mental block — its opposite — can cause work to feel laborious and uninspired. Forget creativity when you have a mental block — it makes it difficult even to start working on what you need to do.

A mental block can manifest in several ways. Perhaps your imposter syndrome is squelching your creative ideas, for instance, or you’re overwhelmed by the breadth of a project and its impending deadline. Maybe you’re just tired or stressed.

Either way, having a mental block feels like being trapped in your own head, and it can seriously dampen your ability to think outside the box. The problem is, you’re so locked into your own perspective that you don’t see more innovative approaches to your problems.[1]

Luckily, jumping over these mental hurdles is simpler than you think. You just need the right strategies to get your flow back.

Try these five practical ways to overcome a mental block.

1. Break Your Project Down

A few years ago, I was working on changing a company product that I believed would hugely benefit our customers. Sounds great, right?

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As inspired as I was to make people’s lives easier, though, the sheer magnitude of the task at hand felt overwhelming. Every morning, I cracked open my laptop to work and felt totally paralyzed. I loved the idea, yes, but actualizing it felt risky. What if it didn’t turn out the way I pictured in my mind? More importantly, where would I even begin?

A former colleague gave me great advice over coffee:

Change how you think. Start by breaking the big project down into small tasks.

When a major project overwhelms you, you only see the entire forest instead of the individual trees. And as you stare it down, you start to feel discouraged by your own lack of progress, thus slowing you down further.

Breaking down a massive task into smaller chunks makes the work feel more manageable. You’ll have multiple clear places to start and end with, which will lend a motivating sense of productivity and mastery to your process. Learn more about it here: The Motivation Flowchart: The Mental Process of Successful People

Think of it as accumulating small wins. When you realize you’re more capable than you have once thought, you’ll develop the momentum and confidence needed to get your big job done little by little.[2]

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2. Change Up Your Scenery

Of course, there’s a time and place for sitting down to get things done. But if you’re experiencing a mental block, switching up your surroundings can make a big difference in your output.

Have you ever noticed how your environment directly impacts your performance and mood?

Your brain associates your physical surroundings with certain feelings and activities. So, if you feel mentally stuck, your mind may need some new sensory stimuli.

During this time in your life, it may not be possible to set up shop at a cafe or move from your cubicle to a conference room, so you may need to think outside the box. If you’re working remotely in a home office, try going to your dining table or couch. If the weather cooperates, sit outside for a bit with your computer or take a walk around the block.

You can also simply rearrange your workspace. Not sure where to begin? Try decluttering. Some studies show that an organized desk enhances productivity.[3]

The point is to stimulate your brain with new sounds and sights. You may find a much-needed dose of inspiration when you work while breathing in the fresh air, listening to city sounds, or staying in the comfort of your own living space.

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3. Do an Unrelated Activity

When it comes to productivity, a bit of distraction isn’t always a bad thing. That’s especially true if your chosen distraction helps you get things done in the long run.

Have you realized how your most creative thoughts tend to bubble up when you’re, say, lying in bed or taking a shower? In their research of the “incubation period,” scientists have discovered that people’s best ideas seem to surface when they aren’t actively trying to solve a problem.[4]

In a 2010 study, participants needed to look for a roommate or new employee based on the profiles that the researchers gave. The people who had a brief “incubation period” — in this case, working on an anagram — consistently made better choices than those who spent more time weighing their options.

If you can’t seem to prime your brain for a project, try doing something completely unrelated to work, such as washing your dishes, working out, or calling a friend. Some experts say finding another low-stake project to work on can help jump-start the creative part of your brain and activate your flow.[5]

The key is to allow your unconscious mind to do its best work: eliciting the new knowledge your conscious mind may be ignoring or suppressing.[6]

4. Be Physical

Feeling antsy? When your mind won’t seem to settle into a state of flow, it may help to swap out your mental activity for a physical one and see how it impacts your perspective.

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While any physical activity is beneficial for your body — and getting up to move can serve as a helpful form of distraction — certain forms of exercise can more directly impact the mind. To be specific, relaxing, flow-based exercises like dance, yoga, or tai chi can create a gentle sense of momentum in your body, which can prime your brain for the same state.

Stress-reducing activities may also be necessary. Meditating or taking slow, deep breaths will also calm your nervous system if you’re feeling overwhelmed. Evidence shows that the logical, creative part of your brain essentially shuts off when you’re stressed.[7]

On the flip side, when your mind and body are relaxed, you can think more clearly, be more creative, and focus for longer periods — all of which will help you overcome a mental block.

5. Don’t Force It

It can be frustrating to fight against your own mind. If your mental block won’t go away after some effort, it may be time to take a break. Forcing creative thoughts only adds to your stress levels, which in turn inhibits your ability to think creatively. And if you sit and stare at a project for too long, you’ll not only waste valuable time but also begin to associate this specific work with frustration and produce work you’re not proud of.

“I know that forcing something is not going to create anything beyond mediocre, so I step aside and work on a different project until it hits me,” the artist Ben Skinner said about his creative process.[8]

If your work isn’t time-sensitive, then it may make sense to step away for a while to focus on something else, be it an administrative task that requires less creativity or a project that you feel motivated to work on.

When the time is right, you’ll find your way back to the original task with a fresh, creative perspective (hopefully).

More on Getting Rid of a Mental Block

Featured photo credit: Jonas Leupe via unsplash.com

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