The TSoT Framework is divided into distinct parts, with a core focused on producing real-world results in a repeatable process.
Foundational to TSoT is the concept positive innovation, meaning that there are better and worse ways to approach forming team systems, such that improvement in a team system’s beneficial output or a reduction in a team system’s negative characteristics (like cost), or both, is constantly possible.
- POSITIVE INNOVATION – Since change can make things better or worse, a component of valuable innovation is making things better.
Supply and demand have been very deeply studied concepts. For our purposes here in a market, the more demand there is for something, the more value opportunity there is to provide it. This frames our abstract concept of an economic market remembering that the market sets and determines value.
A value chain is within a market. Generally, when dealing with organizations there are two competing value chains representing two distinct markets. There is the internal value chain where direct control can be exhibited within the organization, and the external value chain that frames how an organization interacts externally to the market.
- VALUE CHAIN - A set of activities to deliver value to a market
- SUPPLY & DEMAND - An economic model of price/value determination in a market.
- DEMAND CHAIN – Awareness, exchange, and fulfilment in a market.
- SUPPLY CHAIN – Acquisition, production, and distribution in an organization
The ORGANIZATION (Super System) Value Chain is how your enterprise brings value to a market and where your contribution fits within the whole.
For example, simply reorganizing how teams work and are organized does not in and of itself guarantee that it will be more valuable than the prior way of operating, meaning that the change must bring about more valuable material output; the concept of value, where that efficiency can be in production (supply), consumption (demand), or some other meaningful non-theoretical measurable capacity.
- MEASURABLE – Something that can be quantified and evaluated independent of perspective.
In TSoT team systems, at all levels, exists an optimized means for converting inputs into outputs in the most beneficial and least harmful way possible. But this is almost never the actual case. We will spend a great deal of time framing this item, but for now it is important to introduce another key TSoT language construct, the contradiction.
- CONTRADICTION - The belief that ‘less than all’ desired characteristic of a team system is possible.
For team systems to evolve along their most efficient paths, each organizational characteristic of the system model must resolve the highest number of contradictions while creating the fewest new contradictions; must provide the greatest number of beneficial effects against the least number of harmful ones; must create the most value with the least harm.
Alongside the concept of positive innovation is the concept of value conflict, where there are two often competing elements to drive positive innovation, a market facing element, and an organization (process) facing operating element.
- VALUE CONFLICT – Competition between two elements of positive innovation centered on the balance between market facing and organization facing.
A challenge in the social sciences is the concept of relativism, which is a concept that there is no final, objective truth, only truth relative to an individual’s perspective with an eye on cognitive and cultural influencers. The TSoT perspective is that this concept is addressed within value conflict, and has the base assumption that:
“Smart well intending people with the same goals and same information will generally reach the same conclusions.”
Therefore, when confronted with a contradiction based upon a value conflict the assumption is that either people do not have the same goals, or they do not have the same information. This realization can be critical and key to resolving value conflict.
Market facing value focuses on the external value of material; organization value focus is on the new or improved ways of creating material. One possible perspective of many is that market value occurs in the demand chain and operating value occur in the supply chain. To align market and operations value, a concept within TSoT is the concept of the value chain, which conceptually combines the demand chain and the supply chain into a single continuum.
You could equally say that market value relates to revenues and operating value relates to costs, although as we will explore there are additional factors and concepts to both. If you accept this premise, the classic value conflict example is the question: “Should we charge more or make it for less?”
Depending on your organization your perspective could be different than these and/or you could draw other similarities; the point here is to be aware of both components to value, meaning the material value of a team’s output compared to the cost to produce that output.
In all these cases, improving value is focused on positive innovation and organizing for measurable improvements, which is why a core focus is on developing a systemic means of identifying positive innovation in addition to rudimentary solutions, along with some material determination that innovation will lead to actual value.
TSoT establishes system-level patterns that can be used to translate the reasoning behind how people are organized. The most relevant desired state reality is firmly established by a systemic analysis methodology enabling leadership practitioners to advance their field as a profession.
- MODEL – An organizing construct that defines the external characteristics of team systems including roles, parts, and processes.
- PATTERN – An organizing assessment that forecasts possible characteristics of team systems including roles, parts, and processes.
- SYSTEMIC – System wide, linking or affecting the entire system independent of sequence.
This then introduces the concept of patterns or models to provide measurability context and direction for determining how to resolve contradictions when designing or redesigning team systems. Patterns and models lend themselves to this understanding which is why they provide the foundation to TSoT.
Since TSoT is the unification of a variety of both traditional and nontraditional fields, with a focus on the organizing principles that guide organizations, produce products, and steer market interactions, you will see the examination and reference to the research of other authors and other concepts. An important aspect of any good framework is building on existing works in new and interesting ways.