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Defining A Tribe

Defining A Tribe

  • A tribe is a group of people connected to one another, connected to a leader, and connected to an idea.
  • A group needs only two things to be a tribe: a shared interest and a way to communicate.
  • Tribes need leadership. People want connection and growth and something new. They want change.

Humans need to belong. One of the most powerful of our survival mechanisms is to be part of a tribe, to contribute to (and take from) a group of like-minded people. We are drawn to leaders and to their ideas, and we can't resist the rush of belonging and the thrill of the new.


2.53K reads

Stuck Tribes

Some tribes are stuck. They embrace the status quo and drown out any tribe member who dares to question authority and the accepted order.

Big charities, tiny clubs, struggling corporations - they're tribes and they're stuck. I'm not so interested in those tribes. They create little of value and they're sort of boring. Every one of those tribes, though, is a movement waiting to happen - a group of people just waiting to be energized and transformed.


2.18K reads

Movement And Action

A movement is thrilling. It's the work of many people, all connected, all seeking something better.

Leaders have followers. Managers have employees.

Some people admire the new and stylish far more than they respect the proven state of affairs. More often than not, these fad-focused early adopters are the people who buy and the people who talk. As a result, new ways of doing things, new jobs, new opportunities, and new faces become ever more important.


1.68K reads

The Changing Definition Of Market

Marketing, the verb, changed the market. The market is now a lot less impressed with average stuff for average people, and the market is a lot less impressed with loud and flashy and expensive advertising. Today, the market wants change.


1.58K reads

Telling People What To Do Vs Starting A Movement

Leaders don't care very much for organizational structure or the official blessing of whatever factory they work for. They use passion and ideas to lead people, as opposed to using threats and bureaucracy to manage them.

There's a difference between telling people what to do, and inciting a movement. The movement happens when people talk to one another when ideas spread within the community and when peer support leads people to do what they always knew was the right thing.

Great leaders create movements by empowering the tribe to communicate.


1.23K reads

Improving A Tribe

It only takes two things to turn a group of people into a tribe:

  • A shared interest
  • A way to communicate

The communication can be:

  • leader to tribe
  • tribe to leader
  • tribe member to tribe member
  • tribe member to an outsider

A leader can help increase the effectiveness of the tribe and its members by:

  • transforming the shared interest into a passionate goal and desire for change
  • providing tools to allow members to tighten their communications
  • leveraging the tribe to allow it to grow and gain new members


1.02K reads

Organizations Vs Factories

  • Organizations are more important than ever. It's the factories we don't need.
  • Organizations give us the ability to create complex products. They provide the muscle and consistency necessary to get things to market and to back them up.
  • Organizations have the scale to care for large tribes.
  • Organizations of the future are filled with smart, fast, flexible people on a mission. Thing is, that requires leadership.


934 reads

Creating A Tribal Culture

All great leaders are generous - they enable the tribe to thrive.

The most powerful way to enable is to be statueworthy : by getting out front, by making a point, by challenging convention, and by speaking up.

It's easy to hesitate when confronted with the feeling that maybe you're getting too much attention. Great leaders are able to reflect the light onto their teams, their tribes. Great leaders don't want the attention, but they use it to unite the tribe and to reinforce its sense of purpose.


767 reads

Tightening Of A Tribe

  • The first thing a leader can focus on is the act of tightening the tribe. It's tempting to make the tribe bigger, to get more members, to spread the word. This pales, however, when juxtaposed with the effects of a tighter tribe.
  • A tribe that communicates more quickly, with alacrity and emotion, is a tribe that thrives.
  • A tighter tribe is one that is more likely to hear its leader, and more likely still to coordinate action and ideas across the members of the tribe.
  • This tightening can happen without technology, and it can happen when there's no profit motive. 


635 reads

Being Uncomfortable Is The Way To Growth

  • It's uncomfortable to stand up in front of strangers.
  • It's uncomfortable to propose an idea that might fail.
  • It's uncomfortable to challenge the status quo.
  • It's uncomfortable to resist the urge to settle.

When you identify the discomfort, you've found the place where a leader is needed.

If you're not uncomfortable in your work as a leader, it's almost certain you're not reaching your potential as a leader.

Leadership is scarce because few people are willing to go through the discomfort required to lead. This scarcity makes leadership valuable.


618 reads

Creating Followers: Microleadership

  • Blind sheep do nothing but mindlessly follow instructions.
  • They don't do the local leadership required when tribe members interact.
  • They're not going to do a very good job of recruiting new members. Evangelism requires leadership.
  • People eagerly engage when they want something to improve. This microleadership is essential.
  • It's the microleaders in the trenches and their enthusiastic followers who make the difference, not the honcho who is ostensibly running the group.
  • Leaders work hard to generate movement that can transform a group into a tribe.


597 reads

Doing Nothing At All

Not all leadership involves getting in the face of the tribe. It takes just as much effort to successfully get out of the way. Effective leadership does not work by inciting, but by enabling others to fill the vacuum.

The one path that never works is the most common one: doing nothing at all.

A leader who backs off is making a commitment to the power of the tribe, and is alert to the right moment to step back in. Someone who is doing nothing is merely hiding.

Leadership is a choice. It's the choice to not do nothing. Lean in, back off, but don't do nothing.


511 reads

Being Curious

Curious is the key word. It has to do with a desire to understand, a desire to try, a desire to push whatever envelope is interesting. Leaders are curious because they can't wait to find out what the group is going to do next. The changes in the tribe are what are interesting, and curiosity drives them.

In order to lead a tribe, all you need to do is motivate people who choose to follow you.


514 reads

Less Followers Is Good

Imagine two classrooms with similar teachers. One has 15 students, the other, 32. Which group gets a better education? The smaller class - because the teacher has more time to spend customizing the lesson to each student. She has fewer students, hence fewer disruptions as well.

  • Great leaders don't try to please everyone.
  • Great leaders don't water down their message in order to make the tribe a bit bigger.

Instead, they realize that a motivated, connected tribe in the midst of a movement is far more powerful than a larger group could ever be.


482 reads

The Religions In Our Lives

There are countless religions in our lives.

  • The religion of Broadway determines what a musical is supposed to look and feel like.
  • The religion of the MBA standard curriculum and perceptions of what is successful.
  • Religion gives our faith a little support when it needs it.

Religion at its best is a sort of mantra, a subtle but consistent reminder that belief is OK, and that faith is the way to get where you're going.

Religion at its worst reinforces the status quo, often at the expense of our faith.


457 reads

Leadership is A Sleath Attack

Leadership almost always involves thinking and acting like the underdog. That's because leaders work to change things, and the people who are winning rarely do.

Leaders go first.

  • Initiating: see something others are ignoring and jump on it.
  • Cause the events that others have to react to.
  • Make change.


531 reads

Not Being Afraid Of Change

  • Everyone believes that what they've got is probably better than the risk and fear that come with change.
  • At first, the new thing is rarely as good as the old thing was.
  • If you need the alternative to be better than the status quo from the very start, you'll never begin.
  • Soon enough, the new thing will be better than the old thing. But if you wait until then, it's going to be too late.


463 reads


When you hire amazing people and give them freedom, they do amazing stuff.



653 reads

The Key Elements Of Micro-Movement

1. Publish a manifesto.

Give it away and make it easy for the manifesto to spread far and wide. It doesn't have to be printed or even written.

2. Make it easy for your followers to connect with you.

3. Make it easy for your followers to connect with one another.

There's that little nod that one restaurant regular gives to another recognized regular.

4. Realize that money is not the point of a movement.

5. Track your progress.


501 reads

The Principles Of A Tribe Movement

1. Transparency really is your only option.

2. Your movement needs to be bigger than you.

3. Movements that grow, thrive.

4. Movements are made most clear when compared to the status quo or to movements that work to push the other direction.

5. Exclude outsiders.

6. Tearing others down is never as helpful to a movement as building your followers up.


514 reads

A Bigger, Faster, Cheaper Tribe

It's OK to abandon the big, established, stuck tribe.

It's OK to say, "You're not going where I need to go, and there's no way I'm going to persuade all of you to follow me. So rather than standing here watching the opportunities fade away, I'm heading off. I'm betting some of you, the best of you will follow me."

You can build a bigger, faster, cheaper tribe than you used to be able to. Transaction costs are falling while the costs of formal organizations (offices, benefits, management) keep increasing.


506 reads


The secret of leadership : paint a picture of the future. Go there.



2.24K reads

The Easiest Thing

  • The easiest thing is to react.
  • The second easiest thing is to respond.
  • But the hardest thing is to initiate.

Managers react. Responding is a much better alternative. You respond to external stimuli with thoughtful action.

But both pale in comparison to initiative. Initiating is really and truly difficult, and that’s what leaders do. They see something others are ignoring and they jump on it. They cause the events that others have to react to. They make change.


1.27K reads


Change isn’t made by asking permission. Change is made by asking for forgiveness, later.



1.25K reads



Dreamer who loves reading, travelling and meeting new people.


A fresh look at Leadership and how to manage change.

Curious about different takes? Check out our Tribes Summary book page to explore multiple unique summaries written by Deepstash users.

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