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Yours May be Bigger, but Mine is Better: Ensure You Succeed with a Small Team


Yours May be Bigger, but Mine is Better: Ensure You Succeed with a Small Team



A Guest Blog from the smart people at : The HR Department (

Creators of the Egyptian pyramids understood teams, as did every military leader in recorded history, which is why it’s rather astonishing that the concept of teamwork in business is so recent. Anyone who is interested in history will know that the term “teamwork” wasn’t really used in the organisational vernacular until the 1970s. It’s not known why it appeared so late, perhaps the turbulent economy or the shattering of social unity caused researchers to look into why some teams fail and others succeed.

It has been said that two large pizzas should be enough to feed a team. The most popular reasons for using the two-pizza rule is that as well as keeping teams agile and responsive, when teams comprise of a dozen people or less, each member is more likely to care about the others, and are more likely to share information.

As teams scale up, unity tends to come apart. At 100 people or more, team members may get on with each other but they aren’t as likely to care about their roles and helping them out to complete a task.

Building an excellent small business team is about more than just employing the correct people. It’s important to inspire your team with a vision, nurture their individual talents whilst appreciating their dynamics as a team. A business succeeds when employees invest in its success, so take a read through my tips below to ensure you choose the right people to succeed with:

Be a Thought Leader

Top talent doesn’t work for average companies with ineffective brands. The more a company can be positioned as an authority in its industry, the more talent will naturally be attracted to working for it. Thought leaders in an industry share expertise with others, which in turn indicates to potential hires that the company is respected within its field.

Don’t Settle for Mediocre

Employers have a habit of often settling for the first run-of-the-mill person they hire, which in turn, can lead to weaknesses within a team. Once it becomes apparent that a member of the team is performing at a mediocre level, it’s essential to discuss the challenges they are facing as well as letting them know that is there is support for them to do better. If there’s no improvement within a few months, it’s time to find a new person for the team.

Forget the Money…at First

People who have passion for the company they wish to be a part of should be strongly considered when hiring, especially if money is not their number one priority when accepting a job offer. It’s important for employees to be interested in the success of the business, and if all they see are euro signs, their hearts may not really be in it.

Trust is Crucial

An employee may be highly intellectual and work hard, but if there is little or no trust in the working relationship, it’s advisable to let the employee go. Daily operations generally become negatively affected if untrusted employees remain in a workplace.

Personal Lives are Important

We all have personal lives and it is important to recognise employees’ lives outside the workplace. Celebrating team members’ significant moments, such as birthdays or weddings, and supporting them through giving necessary time off, helps build loyalty with them, and they often pay it forward with other members of the team.

Diversity Brings Innovation

Diverse thinkers aid in building a strong team. A range of sexes, ages and races often make a team think outside the box and solve problems from many different viewpoints.

Maintain Systematic Processes

Once success has been achieved in a particular space, it is necessary to create a process that mimics that success time and time again. Whether it is through using check lists in the workplace or adopting the same successful approach for different clients, the process increases the effectiveness of a team.

Use People’s Strengths

Employees have both strengths and weaknesses, both of which should be recognised and considered. Each team member should spend time using their skills to the best of their advantage, but weaknesses should be improved upon to create a skilled all-round employee.

Great Teams Read

It’s a well-known saying that ‘leaders are readers’, so to create leaders within a team, they should consistently read. Try to share articles and books amongst the workplace to keep on top of upcoming trends and stimulate strategic thinking.

Invest in Your First Five Employees

Training should be invested into all staff, however when more time is spent training the first five employees, less time is invested in training employees who join the company at a later date. Time needs to be reserved to assist team members and to prepare them to demonstrate the same support to further employees as the company expands.

It’s OK to Be Friends

More often than not, co-workers spend more time with each other in the workplace than they do with family in general. Getting on with team members creates a positive working environment whilst also increasing performance levels. As long as targets are being hit and people are being held accountable, it shouldn’t be unusual to manage a team that is made up of friends.

Give Recognition

Recognising employees when they do something extraordinary not only gives them a sense of accomplishment; it inspires other team members to make the effort to also go above and beyond their normal duties.

It takes time and effort to put together a dream team, but using the above strategies, an amazing team of brilliant employees is most definitely attainable. Remember that scale can hurt focus. The greatest leaders keep their teams small and bright.


The contents of this article are necessarily expressed in broad terms and limited to general information rather than detailed analyses or legal advice. Specialist professional advice should always be obtained to address legal and other issues arising in specific contexts.


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