- Common methods like massive cultural changes and initiatives only work about 30% of the time
- Leveraging the naturally occurring groups your teams form is the most effective way of changing your company culture
- An effective tribal leader can bring about a thriving corporate culture, while the lack of a good tribal leader is why some businesses fail.
If you saw one of your team members outside of work, walking down the street, would you stop to say hello? If you answered yes, you’ll agree with what Dave Logan, John King, and Halee Fischer-Wright describe as a tribe in their book Tribal Leadership: “A ‘tribe’ is a group of 20 to 150 who know each other enough that, if they randomly saw another walking down the street, they’d stop to say hello.”
As a business leader, you want your employees to feel like they belong to a tribe, not a just a team. Assessing your organisation’s culture can help you identify specific tools to enable tribal leadership.
The big idea: Dissolve a team mentality in favour of something bigger
As disruptors in the form of artificial intelligence, automation, and self-driving vehicles advance, our world gets smaller and more progressive. It’s our leadership and relationship skills that will set us apart and will keep us from being left behind.
“Tribal strategy is a series of three discussions in which the tribal leader starts to learn where the group wants to go,” explains Logan. “What do we want? The resulting answer is ‘outcomes’. What do we have? The tribe’s answers constitute ‘assets.’ What will we do? This answer gives the group its behaviours.” The outcomes, assets and behaviours are key drivers to determining this direction.
What’s in it for you: Stronger company culture and increased collaboration
Conventional strategies such as massive cultural changes, promotions and initiatives only work about 30% of the time, according to Logan, King and Fischer-Wright. “The most effective method of changing your organisation’s culture is to leverage the naturally occurring groups in your organisation – tribes.”
Applying tribal leadership strategies not only endorses efficiency, but it also pushes the tribe to seek leadership instead of rejecting it. Employee wellbeing increases as people start to feel more alive.
“Leaders lead when they connect with their tribes and when they help the tribe connect to itself,” says entrepreneur, blogger and author of Tribes: We Need You to Lead Us, Seth Godin. Tribal leadership encourages collaboration in working towards a common goal, reduces interpersonal friction – therefore lessening fear and stress in the workplace – and builds a culture of openness and friendliness where co-operation, not competition thrives.
Make it happen
Apply these tribal strategy principles from Reggie James, founder and managing director of Beaker & Flint to your leadership toolkit today:
- Share the connections within your sphere of influence. Hoarding contacts and information doesn’t make you more powerful – it alienates your tribe
- Leverage your ability to use the resources within your tribe to increase individuals’ power as a team and accomplish your collective vision
- Walk the talk and let your passion for your work convey your vision, to motivate your team to be a like-minded tribe.