Tribes

I was excited to receive my pre-ordered copy of Seth Godin’s ‘Tribes – we need you to lead us’ this week.

In it Godin writes ” Tribes are about faith – about belief in an idea and in a community. And they are grounded in respect and admiration for the leader of the tribe and for the other members as well. …There are tribes everywhere now, inside and outside of organizations, in public and private in nonprofit, in classrooms, across the planet. Every one of these tribes is yearning for leadership and connection.”

I am writing this post from Austin, Texas and no where were tribes more prevalent than yesterday around the UT campus where we mixed with several thousand Texas Longhorn fans; all proudly demonstrating their belonging through their colorful orange apparel. Obviously those of us living in the U.S are also witnessing distinct political tribes too, each very loyal to their beliefs and leader.

This started me thinking about tribes to which I personally belong.

I am confident in stating that I am part of the Apple Mac tribe, I am brand loyal and ‘mac people’ tend to be fanatical about products and the mac experience, we connect easily to one another on the street, on planes and at the ‘genius bar’. Steve Jobs is the most identifiable leader though I think many of us would say our tribal alliance is as much to do with Ives’ design leadership.

I also feel part of the tribe that congregates at Art Center School of design for the biannual conference, the thousand or so of us that attend speak the same language. The British Tribe is one I was born into and comes into play every now and then; get a bunch of Brits in a bar abroad and we will gravitate to one another, a tribe based on irony and humor. I am a Coach so there is a tribe of coaches that I suppose I belong to and even though I am about to take a board position at one of the ICF Chapters I am not quite at the point of embracing it at tribe status yet. Isn’t it interesting that as social animals we have a keen awareness of who ‘our people are’ and I think there are many smaller tribes as part of that organization to which I am still investigating my allegiance. Even if we are natural social butterflies or have jobs that involve us meeting a broad spectrum of society we will still have strong tribal associations and that feeling of ‘belonging’ with others.

Social networking has broadened the possibility of tribes, no longer do they need to be geographical. I am part of a few social network tribes including Facebook. At first glance social network tribes seem to be more of a catalyst model than a leadership model, I don’t think we are looking for a leader when we join these groups or are we?

In doing this exercise I started to understand what Godin was saying when he stated that the majority of tribes are looking for connection and leadership. For example I don’t have leadership in my eco interests. There are a few figure heads but I don’t consider myself part of a tribe even though there are some borderline tribal behaviors if we care to count subscriptions to special interest magazines. I wonder if I were part of an eco tribe if my quest to build an eco friendly home would be easier. Maybe I need a tribe! It is an interesting way of looking at it. Wow, imagine it, a new home project ‘grounded in respect and admiration’! Could it really be?

Edwin H. Friedman wrote – “Leadership can be thought of as a capacity to define oneself to others in a way that clarifies and expands a vision of the future.” I think this is an interesting perspective on leadership. It feels intuitive and positive and something we can all do.

It became apparent to me that the concept behind The Cooperative and this blog was one about tribe. I have a vision around connecting people with similar ideas so that we can all share knowledge and learn to live well, simply and vibrantly and the community is really beginning to take shape. Don’t worry you won’t be asked to come help me build my home anytime soon……mmmmmm…or is that strictly true??

This week take a moment to notice to which tribes you belong, where leadership might be lacking and where YOU will choose to lead.

Candice

© The Red Barn Cooperative – Working together to nourish lives
A Red Barn Coaching initiative www.redbarncoaching.com

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