As a business leader, you might have heard of the concept of triads. Triads are great opportunities for business owners, CEOs, and key executives. While a triad is, at its core, a meeting of three people, it is also much more than that.
Through my experience as a CEO and as a Vistage Master Chair, I have learned what it is that makes triads successful and how the most successful CEOs can use triads to their advantage.
First, it is important to understand what a triad is and the role each member plays. They are not simply a group of three people, but instead, a joint, mutually beneficial relationship between three individuals in which each individual has a unique role and responsibility regarding the quality of the relationship between each member.
In each triad, there is shared responsibility and a sense of loyalty and trust. Each individual within the triad understands that, while they support the other two members, they can also count on their support. The whole purpose of a triad is to create a successful three-way peer relationship between talented, experienced, and knowledgeable individuals who can both benefit from and contribute to the value of the group as a whole.
According to John King and Dave Logan, in their New York Times bestselling book, titled “Tribal Leadership: Leveraging Natural Groups to Build a Thriving Organization,” triads are “based on core values and mutual self-interest.” Furthermore, in a ten-year study of over 24 thousand people, it was found that 75% of corporate cultures are ineffective. As for the 24% of corporate cultures that were in fact, effective, it was found that they met in triads, while the rest of the cultures did not. This demonstrates the value of triads and the benefits they have for organizations that utilize them successfully.
Three people is the perfect number for a group of professionals working together. With a pair, disagreements can be numerous. There is also no opportunity for a so-called “second opinion,” a tie-breaker, or a mediator if things become tense. However, with a trio, the third person is able to provide their opinion on a disagreement between the other two parties and can mediate if necessary. If a conflict were to arise between two members of the triad, it is the responsibility of the third person to help them resolve the conflict. Thus, a third person is crucial, as they are what can actually create the stability of the triad. This leads to each member holding the others accountable, leading to a shared sense of understanding, responsibility, trust, and respect.
There are countless benefits to utilizing triads. Successful CEOs can receive from triads the opportunity to experience fresh ideas and perspectives they might not have considered otherwise. Within a triad, there is the opportunity for diversity among team members, which can be demonstrated through variations in both expertise and experience.
Because of this, CEOs can also gain unbiased perspectives from talented, experienced, and knowledgeable peers. As the members of the triads are from different backgrounds and have different experiences, they have no hidden agendas. This can provide the opportunity for business leaders to help each other with any decisions or challenges they may be facing without fear of any sort of ulterior motive.
Another benefit of triads is that the members can share resources and strategize together, leading to optimized, effective, and thoughtful decision-making. Also, members who help each other with differing issues can learn from each other and apply what they’ve learned in each situation to their own businesses and situations.
Triads are especially successful because of various core practices or principles. Most important is the sharing of a common interest. Triads are based on mutual self-interest and core values, so it is important to have common interests and a sense of mutual understanding. Relating to this is a sense of collaboration, as each member must be supportive of the others.
Authenticity is another crucial principle of triads. Authenticity means transparency and speaking the truth without fear of rejection or of looking bad. Members of a triad must be authentic with one another if they wish to obtain the best possible results. Similar to this is the principle of contribution, which is important in order to maintain the structure of a triad. Each member must contribute to and receive contributions from the other two members. Otherwise, the triads will lose their effectiveness.
Finally, triads are only successful when the core values are identified and leveraged. Each member of the triad must be able to communicate clearly and effectively which value they need and which is still required. By identifying and leveraging the core values that can unite the triad, members can better work together and strengthen the group to enhance its effectiveness.
There are many reasons CEOs should join a triad, as there are countless benefits. Fresh, unbiased, diverse perspectives, help with decisions and challenges, and shared resources and strategies are just a few examples of the ways that triads can improve the skills and leadership of a CEO.
Just like the most successful New York City CEOs of my Vistage groups, you too can utilize triads to your advantage and increase the success of your organization.