Two meditations on size.
The Dunbar Number
Robert Dunbar suggests the maximum size for a human organization (including collections of friends) is 150 – 250.
For military and business organizations requiring a tighter knit – the Dunbar number is 50.
Lots of the writing around the Dunbar Hypothesis has focused on the constraints the number imposes. What about the value of the number?
Here’s my thought:
If people are a source for energy and creativity – fuel for growth – bigger is better until it’s not. An organization with 50 talented humans providing wide-open input [focus: synergy] will usually outmaneuver an organization with 5. Or an organization with 5,000. ATBE.*
Right Happiness Size
An organization is the right size [AKA the ‘Great Performances Number’] when:
- everything that must be done is getting done
- everything is getting done by people who find success in doing it
Happiness, productivity, doing what we do best, profitability. These four things live elegantly in the same space. They are the circle of life feeding a growing organization.
Is your organization the right size yet?
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*All Things Being Equal