Tribal Leadership the Book
Every company, indeed, every organization, is a tribe, or if it’s large enough, a network of tribes—groups of twenty to 150 people in which everyone knows everyone else, or at least knows of everyone else. Tribes are more powerful than teams, companies, or even CEOs, and yet their key leverage points have not been mapped—until now. In Tribal Leadership, Dave Logan, John King, and Halee Fischer-Wright show leaders how to assess their organization’s tribal culture on a scale from one to five and then implement specific tools to elevate the stage to the next. The result is unprecedented success.
In a rigorous ten-year study of approximately 24,000 people in more than two dozen corporations, Logan, King, and Fischer-Wright refine and define a common theme: the success of a company depends on its tribes, the strength of its tribes is determined by the tribal culture, and a thriving corporate culture can be established by an effective tribal leader. Tribal Leadership will show leaders how to employ their companies’ tribes to maximize productivity and profit: the authors’ research, backed up with interviews ranging from Brian France (CEO of NASCAR) to “Dilbert” creator Scott Adams, shows that more than three quarters of the organizations they’ve studied have tribal cultures that are merely adequate, no better than the third of five tribal stages.
The authors explain exactly what Tribal Leadership is, and offer a wealth of “technical notes” which explain how to implement the leadership system in any culture. They also offer coaching tips and a “cheat sheet” that provides the key action steps to building great tribes—including how to identify a tribe’s language and customs, how to move yourself forward while moving your people, and how to build a support network. “The goal is to give you the perspective and tools of a Tribal Leader,” the authors write. “The result is more effective workplaces, greater strategic success, less stress, and more fun. In short, the point of this book is for you to build a better organization in which the best people want to work and make an impact.”
TRIBAL LEADERSHIP details each of the five tribal stages and helps readers identify which actions affect it and which strategies will enable the tribe to upgrade to the next level. The authors discuss how each stage has a unique set of leverage points and why it is critical to understand them—more than three quarters of the organizations they studied have tribal cultures that are adequate at best. The five stages include:
• Stage One: The stage most professionals skip, these are tribes whose members are despairingly hostile—they may create scandals, steal from the company, or even threaten violence.
• Stage Two: The dominant culture for 25 percent of workplace tribes, this stage includes members who are passively antagonistic, sarcastic, and resistant to new management initiatives.
• Stage Three: 49 percent of workplace tribes are in this stage, marked by knowledge hoarders who want to outwork and outthink their competitors on an individual basis. They are lone warriors who not only want to win, but need to be the best and brightest.
• Stage Four: The transition from “I’m great” to “we’re great” comes in this stage where the tribe members are excited to work together for the benefit of the entire company.
• Stage Five: Less than 2 percent of workplace tribal culture is in this stage when members who have made substantial innovations seek to use their potential to make a global impact.
The authors also offer an in-depth look at Tribal Leadership strategies, and discuss how leaders can identify the tribe’s core values and the noble causes to which they aspire. They then explain how to use those principles along with the tribe’s inherent assets and behaviors to foster success based on the tribe’s goals and objectives. As the authors explain, once the tribe sets its strategy based on these factors, a palpable sense of excitement begins to emerge. “Every member of the tribe knows exactly how to succeed and what each person must do to make the tribe effective,” they write. “That’s the promise of tribal strategy.”
Leaders, managers, and organizations that fail to understand, motivate, and grow their tribes will find it impossible to succeed in an increasingly fragmented world of business. The often counterintuitive findings of Tribal Leadership will help leaders at today’s major corporations, small businesses, and nonprofits learn how to take the people in their organization from adequate to outstanding, to discover the secrets that have led the highest-level tribes to remarkable heights, and to find new ways to succeed where others have failed.
— Ken Blanchard, coauthor of The One Minute Manager® and Lead with LUV