If You’re Not Using Small Teams, You’re Already Losing

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If You’re Not Using Small Teams, You’re Already Losing

I have a keynote that I deliver at places from corporate annual meetings to small family businesses. It’s called 550 Cord Teambuilding– Utilizing Small Team Tactics in Business.

I get a lot of questions about it, the most common one being, “How do I build small teams that work?”

In essence, this is really asking, “How do I break up my company into small teams?”

I’m not a big fan of wasting time just to fill up empty space with words, so what I’m about to give you is a quick, fast, and dirty rundown.


The best organizations are made up of small teams…

You don’t need a large team to be successful, you simply need the right team. I’ve summited high mountains with only a few guys. My ambulance paramedic crew was only 2 of us.

You can’t wait until there’s a crisis before you assemble your small teams. Do it right now and give them a chance to practice before something happens.

550 Parachute Cord is made out of 7 cords inside a 32 strand sheath. Each cord has a weight capacity of 50 pounds, but together, as a single unit with the sheath, it can handle 550 pounds. The math doesn’t add up, but that’s the beauty of small teams. The strength is greater than the sum of the parts.

In the Marines we referred to our most basic functional unit as a Fire Team.

Fire Teams are Fast and Focused, Independent, Resourceful, Efficient, Task Oriented, Exciting, Agile, Adaptive, and Mobile.

Depending on your needs, you can stack all positions other than the Fire Team Leader more than one person deep, but to remain as a Fire Team, do not extend beyond 7 people. With just about any endeavor, a threshold higher than 7 should be organized into multiple Fire Teams.

Every member of the Fire Team should understand and appreciate the positions and duties of the other members.

It is the company’s job to enable the Fire Teams to complete their mission.

I learned from personal experience that works when bullets are flying and avalanches are tumbling, established small teams work.

Peter Drucker once said, “The most successful company is not the one with the most brains, but the most brains acting in concert.”

If you have questions, just get in touch. If you need help, I’m here to serve.

This message was written by a team of geeks, nerds, gamers, and Dr. David Powers. You can always find us at www.callsignredbeard.com. Thanks for reading!

In the words of Starship Troopers, “Would you like to know more?”





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Are You Utilizing Small Teams in Your Business?

The notion of small team leadership isn’t new by any stretch, as you can see from the image below that comes from a decades old military manual.

After its successful use in recent years by special operations troops, many businesses, government entities, and even churches are seeing its benefits and practical applications.

Are you currently working with a small team concept?

Have you tried small teams in the past?

Do you know which one of the soldiers above would be your spot on the team?

For answers to all these questions and more, get in touch. If you want to investigate small teams before calling me to consult with your group, check out the amazing book, Team of Teams by Gen. Stanley McChrystal.

This message was written by a team of geeks, nerds, gamers, and Dr. David Powers. You can always find us at www.callsignredbeard.com. Thanks for reading!

In the words of Starship Troopers, “Would you like to know more?”





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Is Your Team Anything Like the Star Wars Crew?

Aside from the obvious enjoyment of interstellar travel and light saber duels, the Star Wars movies offer a great many lessons in other areas. Because team building is a primary focus of my speaking, I would like to point out a few lessons from Han Solo and others as they relate to teams.


  • Small teams can accomplish great things. Rebel Alliance- 2, Death Stars- 0.
  • Every team needs an Obi-Wan Kenobi to serve as the gatherer to bring members together. This person may or may not be the team leader. It just depends.
  • The goals are sometimes more important than the team itself. Sometimes people, products, or processes are sacrificed to reach the goal. Luke Skywalker’s arm is never gonna grow back.
  • Sometimes teams need to come together for a season and then disband when the job is done. The main crew in Star Wars is constantly evolving.
  • Teams don’t always have to get along perfectly to work. Just think about all the constant infighting among the Star Wars crew.

There are so many more lessons to learn. If you want to see all of these principles in play and realize your own, have your team sit down and watch a few or all of the movies and analyze them in terms of team building.

I hope this helps you and your team. If you would like to delve deeper into team building, please get in touch. I frequently speak at conferences on this topic and also use it to coach individuals in high stress/high danger occupations in career transition.

This message was written by a team of geeks, nerds, gamers, and Dr. David Powers. You can always find us at www.drdavidpowers.com. Thanks for reading!


Buy the original Star Wars trilogy and watch it as a team

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