In the post Covid era, in the Microsoft Teams environment, almost everyone in the system logs into the matter and then “much ado about nothing” just to make his/her presence felt. Consequently meetings just drag on and on. I remember a close relative who once completed 5 episodes of a web series , putting himself in mute and turning off the camera. I asked him – wasn’t this dangerous. He said – I will rejoin them after 3 hours and I am sure they will be stuck at the same point at which I left them 🙂 Thats the power of meetings with too many participants.
Robert Sutton, a professor of organizational behavior at Stanford University, looked at the research on group size and concluded that the most productive meetings contain only five to eight people. Why? There is a tipping point beyond which the quality of the conversation begins to erode.
As per an HBR article on this, the drawbacks of having too many people are
a) Not everyone who has joined the meeting gets a chance to contribute
b) Rich back and forth debate is replaced by shallow comments.
c) Information-sharing and catch-ups distract from addressing higher priority issues.
d) People become more guarded and less candid.
e) Tough topics and decisions are not put on the agenda, then are dealt with off-line instead.
To help his meetings run smoothly and successfully, Amazon boss Jeff Besos came up with the Two Pizza Rule. Basically, meetings at Amazon should only have as many attendees as could comfortably share two pizzas
Was he just trying to cut down on the catering bill. Of course, not. The goal was to make the teams efficient. If the team is small,less time is spent in coordination and more time in doing what needs to be done.
What do you think of this idea?