No, this is not about drug lords and murders. Rather, it is about the sense of being closely linked to each other, and getting this done; and how the two are actually related to each other.
Did you know, there is an interesting phenomenon called the rule of 150 or the magic of 150 which suggests that the human social feeling of interconnectedness stops somewhere around 150 people? This is a size that a small tribe or hamlet would have comprised of. With this number, we feel like a large group, yet sufficiently close to each other so that there is no alien feeling of ‘alone in the masses’.
Why does this number hold significance in this day and age?
Social relationships are becoming one dimensional and superficial as they increase in number and explode over social media sites in terms of followers and Facebook friends. At such a time, a workplace which consists of a closely knit group, a highly cohesive unit, could just be the glue we look for.
It is not a surprise then, that startups have succeeded where big companies could not: in getting work done. Be it keeping the morale high, making the employee feel valued or avoiding turnover, small numbers work.
It turns out that the fear of the boss is nothing compared to the fear of letting your colleagues down. As you spend many hours working with each other, any mishap on our end is a personal hurt to the sort of personal-work friendship that develops and that is a great motivator to do well.
The company Gore Tex is a great example of this. Everyone there is an ‘associate’, salaries are mutually decided and there is no one upping, no politics. Work politics are the biggest reason for employee stress and not feeling attached and appreciated is why good employees leave. Gore Tex solves this problem by making everyone friends, and by making everyone matter.
When they started to grow beyond 150, they started to see problems and disruptions. They saw the large group break into smaller groups. To avoid this, they start a new plant each time they cross 150 members. In his fantastic book called The Tipping Point, Malcolm Gladwell mentions that the strength of the groups helps to get work done. Peer pressure works much better than hierarchical rules.