Tuesday, February 7, 2012

Who is Leading Your Tribe?

Book Review on the book TRIBES by Seth Godin

Godin describes a tribe as a group of individuals who are connected to one another, an idea, and a leader. According to Godin, you must have a leader otherwise it is not a tribe; the group is imply a group of people. This connection, the tribe, requires two things. The first is a common interest, and the second is communication. Communication can occur in several different ways: leader to tribe, tribe to leader, tribe to outsiders and between tribe members. There have been initiatives and groups to which I have belonged that could be considered a "tribe" in that the members were connected to one another sharing an idea or movement they supported, and where there was a leader. The energy in these groups was very high in that the shared idea was what rooted the members together. The leadership provided the communication and drive to move the initiative forward.

A tribe does require a leader. Leadership and management is different, Godin summarizes the difference as a leader being one that creates change you believe in while managers are more about managing processes and manipulating resources. A tribe leader can increase the effectiveness of the tribe through transformation- transforming the shared interest into a clearly defined goal that the individuals are passionate about. The leader secures the resources and processes to communicate effectively and supports the tribe in growing and evolving.

In the book Tribes, Godin talks about one barrier to bringing good ideas to reality, that is FEAR. He suggests that while many people come up with great, even groundbreaking, ideas however most lack the will to actually make the idea happen because we are hardwired with fear. Fear is also a reason that many leaders avoid leadership...because of the discomfort involved in leadership. There is discomfort when making an unpopular decision, taking a stand, challenging the status quo, change or settling for just "okay". Leaders stretch to move out of the discomfort to be effective in their role, and in doing so, provide the opportunity for change, growth and action towards the goal or mission, or a movement.

There are several "musts" for a movement, according to Godin, those are:

- A Manifesto or what I refer to as a charter- a clearly defined message that is easy to understand and as easy to share with others

- Accessible leaders and connections with others

- Opportunity for members to connect with one another

- Money enables the movement, but money is not the point of the movement

- Progress is tracked.

The principles required, that can also benefit your team are:

- transparency, a movement or goal that is bigger than you, opportunities to grow and thrive, and a high degree of caring.

Who is in your tribe? Whose tribe do you lead? What movements can you get behind to make a difference?

To learn more about Seth Godin or the book Tribes, visit: