The 3 rings of member commitment in any dynamic group

Managing any team, network or group becomes a whole lot simpler if you understand the three rings of member commitment.

I define the three rings as the Inner Ring, Middle Ring and Outer Ring.

For something so fundamental I was amazed to find there seems to be very little written about it - the only reference I could find to anything vaguely similar is in "Mastering Virtual Teams " [1].

The 3 rings

Essentially the group leader(s) and each group member should make a joint decision on which one of the three concentric rings of commitment they belong in (at that point in time):

  1. The Inner Ring
    This is where the leaders and most committed group members reside.
    This is also referred to as the Core Team where the members are "accountable for direct task output".
  2. The Middle Ring
    This is where the normal active team members reside.
    This is also called this the Extended Team where there is not necessarily daily involvement from the members.
  3. The Outer Ring
    This is where the team members who make occasional input reside.
    This is also known as the Ancilliary Team whose role include adhoc expertise, reviewing and approving work.

Using the 3 rings

The three rings of groups make it very easy to discuss with team members, in simple terms, where everyone sits in terms of their commitment to the team.

It also works very well with collaborative business networks where team commitment is often the number one problem.

For each ring of the group you just have to agree with its members:

  • Types of communication

  • Reply and response times

  • Hours per week

  • Involvement etc

You need all 3 rings!

Finally don't fall into the trap of thinking that Ring 3 members are less valuable that Ring 1 or Ring 2 members.

You need all three rings operating well in a successful team or network.

Ring 3 members can be absolutely crucial in areas such as authority, approvals, organisational grapevines and politics.


1. "Mastering Virtual Teams " by Deborah Duarte and Nancy Tennant Snyder" and published by Jossey-Bass.


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I am indeed grateful! It made my class thinking of their commitment to each other as a team.

Hi Yosefina

I am glad you found it helpful

Best Regards



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