Do many hands make light work? Or do too many cooks spoil the broth?

Maybe your answer will depend on your individual inclination. It’s perhaps similar to how some people subscribe to “fortune favours the brave” in contrast to others who think it best to “look before you leap”.

But enough of the contradictory idioms. And back to whether many hands make light work.

If you are making a decision on your own then no agreements are needed. It’s just you – deciding unilaterally. If two people are involved then 1 agreement is necessary.

So:

1 person – 0 agreements needed

2 people – 1 agreement needed

If you were looking for a formula, where x is the number of people and y is the number of agreements necessary, you might simply say:
y = x-1

But that’s wrong. The situation is actually worse. Imagine if 3 people are involved. In that case the real value of y = 3. Here’s the actual formula:

y = x (x-1)/2
If x is 4, y = 6.

If x is 5, y = 10.

If x is 6, y = 15.

See how 10 is 4 more than 6? But 15 is 5 more than 10? For each person you add to the mix, you add an ever increasing number of agreements being needed.

The lesson?

A large team may indeed “make light work” in terms of executing decisions – but just be extremely selective as to who you involve in making those decisions!

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