Tribes form in groups of 20-150 people and anymore and they split into 2. They are made of people who you would say hi to on the street and are in your cell phone. A small company is a tribe and a large company is a tribe if tribes.
Leaders don’t swoop in Superman style and lead. They nudge the culture over time with interactions with employees, customers, etc.
Tribes are developed in stages from 1-5 with stage 5 being the best and most effective tribe. Griffin Hospital operates at a Stage 5 very frequently.
Stage 1 – Life sucks
Stage 2 – My life sucks. no innovation or passion
Stage 3 – I’m great and you’re not. A collection of lone warriors. The culture thrives on winning. Most common in companies where business is measured on an individual basis – sales, lawyers, executives.
Stage 4 – We’re great. Shared core values and interdependent strategies.
Stage 5 – Life is great. Their language revolves around infinite potential and how the group is going to make history—not to beat a competitor, but because doing so will make a global impact.
When leading others, take into account what stage they are at as well as yourself. Lead by building the stage four critical mass culture, and then they’ll elect you as their leader. Tribal leaders speak the language of each stage and the group’ss performance can be attributed to how many speak the language of the varying stages. Get people to speak the language of the stage four tribe and don’t accept anything below. Each time people speak, their words emulate what stage and culture they are at.
Tribal leaders listen for which cultures are in their tribes and upgrade those tribes using specific leverage points:
Stage 1 – emphasize they have a choice. They can end up dead, in prison, or in stage 2. Set the boundaries, but never give up. Hate the sin, love the sinner. Encourage stage one’ers to go where the action is – lunches, social functions, etc
Stage 2 – have zero tolerance for stage one behavior. Upgrade the culture, don’t attack the conspiracy. Tell people they’re valued. Work one-on-one rather than addressing culture-wide concerns. Upgrade the culture and people will take care of their own issues. Tribal leaders have an ability to speak all five language stages. Use the power of three: have a meeting with a trusted stage 3 employee.
Stage 3 – don’t refer to people by their stage. Ask, does it fit? Don’t wait. Encourage mutual contribution. Point out that gifts are different. Point out the superior results of stage four tribes. Form two-person relationships with your co-workers so it looks like a wagon wheel spoke. The best Tribal Leaders we met are highly educated individuals whose identity is not the letters after their name or a license hanging on the wall. Many around them were surprised to learn that they had advanced degrees because they never brought it up. The moment leadership becomes cookie-cutter it becomes management, not leadership.
When the person complains that he doesn’t have time and that others aren’t as good (the two chief gripes at Stage Three), show that he has crafted his work life so that no one can really contribute to him.
Stage 3 – Epiphany
Tribal leaders learned that stage 4 has no lasting legacy and more can get done with stage 4 employees. People who’ve had this epiphany read books differently, often highlighting sections for others, hoping to spread the insights that changed their lives.
Stage 3 and 4 require an adversary, so the language reflects that. “I’m better than you,” or ” my house is bigger than yours,” and “we are the best sales group.
When [people] operate in the ‘I’ system, they can’t have a legacy. When they operate in the ‘we’ [Stage Four] system, they can have an individual legacy. If you told them that, they probably wouldn’t believe it.
As the person sees into her blind spots she realizes that the ego hit of accomplishment isn’t the same as success itself. “I am because we are.” The real goal is the betterment of the tribe. What couldn’t happen at stage 3 personally happens as a result of stage 4: “Stage Three: esteem, respect, loyalty, legacy, and enduring success.
Stage 4 – Tribal Leaders
The tribe comes first, before the profit. Relationships before the business model. Or find stage 3ers from inside and recruit for stage 4, or have your antennae up for the stage 4.
Core Values and Noble Cause
Tribal leaders follow the core values no matter what the cost. Keep the discussion about the core values, and not just print out a bulletin with it. It must be discussed every day. You cannot and should not attempt to maintain your noble cause and values by purging others who don’t align with it. This actually regresses the culture. 1. Values must be from the core and therefore universal. 2. The resulting unity must be alignment (same direction) not just agreement. Tribes based on agreement discourage independent thinking, disagreement, and questioning.
The process of an oil change is for the group to talk through three questions: (1) what is working well, (2) what is not working well, and (3) what the team can do to make the things that are not working well, work.
Triads and Stage 4 Networking
Two-person relationships are hallmarks of stage 3 people. Triads, where the tribal leader connects two other, is the hallmark of stage 4. Next time you go to Starbucks, take 2 people, not 1. To triad effectively, know the values and current projects for everyone in your network, give small gifts, be world-class at something, and be authentic, not self-promoting.