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Amazon's Two Pizza Approach To Building A Productive Team

Posted by Natalie Pike on October 24, 2014

Amazon is known for multiple things. Besides being the worldwide leader in online shopping, they're also highly acknowledged for their productive team of employees. It's one thing to have a group of people that enjoy each others company, but it's another thing to have them work effectively. CEO Jeff Bezos has one simple solution to building a productive team: The Two Pizza Approach. 

When planning your next meeting and considering who to invite, ask yourself how many people you could feed with two pizzas—that’s how many people you should include. 

This number varies depending on the manager. Bezos puts team numbers between five and eight people, however Mark de Rond, a professor of Strategy and Organization at The Univeristy of Cambridge, said that various studies over the years have shown that people tend to prefer teams of four or five members. 

Regardless of how many people you think two pizzas could feed, the idea of working with smaller teams tends to reduce innovation killers such as Groupthink.  Other positives that come from working in groups of eight or less include more effective communication, higher trust among co-workers, and less fear of failure. The professor of Social and Organizational Psychology at Harvard University, J. Richard Hackman, said "the more people you add to a team, the more exponentially complicated the work gets. Big teams usually wind up just wasting everybody's time."

The same goes for building your company as a whole. If you happen to grow into a business with 200+ employees, make sure to keep the team meetings on the smaller side. Bezos believes in avoiding complacency at all costs. A Wall Street Journal profile mentioned that at an offsite, team building retreat where managers wanted their employees to start communicating more with each other, Mr. Bezos stood up and said, "No, communication is terrible!" He said a decentralized, even disorganized, company where independent ideas would prevail is significantly more important. 

Whether you're into Lou Malnati's (Chicago's best) Deep Dish or maybe frozen, DiGiorno pizzas are more your fancy, think about how many people two of them could feed. Don't exceed that number when facilitating team meetings. This will increase productivity and help employees feel more comfortable communicating their ideas.


This is only one way to help build a productive team. Want 50 more? Download our free eBook!

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Employee Engagement, Management

Natalie Pike

About the Author

Natalie is Hireology's Inbound Marketing Coordinator. Her favorite topics to write about are how to hire millennials, building a strong company culture, and employee engagement. She is a Purdue University graduate (Boiler up!), social media junkie and avid iced coffee drinker.