The Tripod Of Work

This model emerged from decades of listening to people - at all levels of work, in diverse organisations and a multitude of cultures.

Core to what we do

The Tripod of Work ©BIOSS

We share the BIOSS perspective on leadership which is distilled in the Tripod of Work. This model emerged from decades of listening to people – at all levels of work, in diverse organisations and a multitude of cultures – talk about the conditions in which they felt they could be most effective as individuals and working together in teams.

A leader creates optimal conditions for decision-making through the key activities of Tasking, Trusting and Tending.

The key issue is to achieve the appropriate balance of these three activities. ​These three ‘corners’ of the Tripod of Work in turn support the Judgement, Review and Coherence essential to the organisation’s resilience in the face of turbulence and change. People who are tasked, trusted and tended share a coherent sense of purpose and direction, know that regular reviews of their work will give them opportunities to learn and that their combined judgement will create and sustain value for the company.’

Content has been reproduced with the permission of BIOSS .

The Optimal Tripod Diagram


When the appropriate balance is achieved, the organisation blends the choice of which objectives to go for with the local know-how of how to achieve that here in these circumstances.  That is, the optimal blend between strategic and overview and local operational skill.


When the appropriate balance is achieved, the organisation is able to monitor its activities without interfering, compare what it is doing with the best external standards, keep an eye on costs and continually review how priorities change as the work proceeds


When the appropriate balance is achieved,individuals understand how their work relates to the whole, “how we do things around here” and thus how to use their initiative when opportunities to improve results arise.  The organisation feels coherent, and every individual can make a difference.

The Diffuse Tripod Diagram

Diffuse conditions exist when managers do not give sufficient clarity, enough framework of guidance, to allow their people to see what they need to do. They give too much discretionary space. “Too little” specification of what to do, let alone clues on how to do it, can leave the individual worries and confused about exactly what is expected of them. This is too much Trusting and too little Tasking.







Lack of shared values and ethos

The Rigid Tripod Diagram

Rigid conditions exist when managers specify too much, control too tightly, leave too little room for their people to use their discretion. “Too much” detailed explanation of objectives or tasks gives people too little scope to exercise their judgement. This is too much Tasking and too little Trusting.






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