The Power of Pods

August 16 2018


One of the joys of working in the Human Resources profession is that you get to work alongside business owners, leaders, managers and staff and develop and test principles to see if they can be successfully applied across a wide range of settings.

I recently recalled a chat that I had with a friend that I met around 12 years ago whilst living and working in London. The friend was playing a high grade of Rugby Union at the time, incidentally a sport that I don’t follow nor profess to know anything about, and was explaining to me the role of pods as an attacking tactic.

So at the time I did a bit more research and found a nice, neat definition of what he was talking about “A group of players who will attack the same space together”. Nice.

What I took from this was that rather than evenly disperse all your team evenly across the field, at times it was more effective to have several specialists working together in close proximity attacking the same target.

Whether it be for the purposes of delivering a project, improving team performance or successfully implementing a change we have found that concentrating specialists whether they be technical or leadership this has been an effective tactic for improving results.

Some of the main benefits are:

  1. There is someone to bounce ideas off which reduces the impact of emotions and improves the quality of decision making
  2. There is improved accountability– as those in a ‘pod’ tend to share goals with each other which means they are more likely to be realised
  3. Pods enable momentum to pick up at a quicker pace with at least two people pushing in the same direction and communicating the same message
  4. Pods can ensure that the weaknesses of one individual can be compensated by the strengths of others. For example, a manager who is thorough and a stickler for detail paired with another who is adept at thinking on their feet and communicating a broad vision can provide the perfect foil for each other.

There are of course a number of variables to affect the level of success that can be achieved such as competency, personality types, individual motivations, technology, market forces and relative size of business.

Overall though our experience has shown that it is often more effective to have your most talented employees concentrated on a particular area of your business that having them in an even spread working disparately across an organisation.

Do you have principles that you have taken from outside your business to improve results?

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