When five people speak together, a sixth always has to die
Deepism courtesy of Nietzsche.
Think of any workteam. Any business meeting. Or indeed, our video calls today.
What's the optimum attendee crowd?
This wisdom suggests it is 5.
The philosophy apparently has several layers of meaning. As well as rabbit holes of potential etymology. [Take this random Reddit thread, for instance].
In our meetings context, especially over video, it could be nicely revealing.
Imagine that, including your good self, you've a total of six participants whom you wish to collectively green light your plan.
Then one may well end up having to switch to signal progress.
Always a tricky scenario.
Does this lore also suggest that if you have sub-six co-interlocutors, then death is less likely? Or at least with a much less fatal pain, for those that might yield or compromise.
A decision-making unit six-strong lends itself to the tense voting return, 3-3.
With one fewer involved, even 3-2 feels less confrontational. More preferable. Workable.
Using the old school taxonomy, these numbers fall within what's termed the ‘committee’ level. Up to roughly a dozen in attendance. Various labels through the years include ‘project team’, ‘working party’, 'steering group', task force', 'panel' and even ‘subcommittee’.
There's also an interesting contribution from Wharton research back in 2006; the 'magic number' of members being 5 or 6. Although not without caveat; "but frankly, I think it depends on the task". Which itself was in response to a Forbes piece of the time, citing [Hackman & Vidmar (1970) study] the ideal as in fact, 4.6.
A-ha, that's Nietzsche's five, right?!
A place where mayhem or meltdown is held at bay, for an acceptance to emerge?
We must be onto a winner, phew.
Well, let's hope so.
Slay that surreptitious sixth by sticking to five and secure your success.