Let’s say you’re at work and you’re thinking about what you’re expected to do, what you’re allowed to do, and what you can do. You might tend to think in terms of a balance of two factors, organizational control versus your autonomy. You’re empowered to decide certain things and not others; you operate on your own in enough situations to get stuff done.
Well, there’s a third factor to consider when thinking about what you can and can’t do, the third apex of the balanced triangle: teamwork.
Teamwork is significant because it makes individuals capable of what several people can do. Everyone has access to team members who adopt others’ problems as a part of their jobs. It could be little things, such as covering the take-out window for a few minutes; or something weightier, such as sharing experience with a complex business solution.
Getting back to the triangle: you can learn useful things about an organization by examining it with respect to its balance point in the control/autonomy/teamwork triangle. This thinking applies equally to large and small groups, with widely varying results possible across a single organization, depending on which kinds of interactions and processes are examined, and when. The resultant triangular analysis is a behavioural model that is instructive to build and a great tool that informs change.
Robert Keidel, an organizational theorist and consultant, developed his triangular design in 1980, wrote a couple articles and a book about it, taught it, and applied it extensively.
References to Keidel’s work: