According to Seth Godin, a Tribe is a group of people connected to one another, connected to a leader, and connected to an idea. Tribes are about Faith, about the belief in an idea and in the community. They are grounded in respect and admiration for the leader of the tribe and for one another as members.
Godin goes on to explain that though there are many groups, communities, or organizations, they may not necessarily be Tribes. The difference between a group of people and a Tribe, Godin suggests, is Leadership. Tribes have leaders who are a voice for change, an idea, or a mission that others maintain a passionate connection to. Tribes make change through the power created from the tight relationship and connection between the Leader, the Members, and the Mission.
Compared to an ordinary group or community, a Tribe has a strength that oftentimes becomes a movement that will seriously impact the world in some way. Movements are a result of the work of many people, all connected and seeking something better, following a leader to achieve their goal. For example, on a smaller scale, a neighborhood may join together as a Tribe to “move” the local municipality to put more cops on the street to help the area become a safer community.
Or, on a large scale, think of Martin Luther King, Jr. His message and his tribe became such a forceful movement that it overturned generations of deep prejudices, unfair treatment and the regulation of a demographic of people that had nothing different about them but a skin color.
And yet, over time, even the best of tribes many times become stuck. Where they once fought the status quo, the Tribe slowly starts to become it. Where once they were the voice for change, they grow to avoid it. As a result, these Tribes drown out any member who dares question the authority or the accepted order of the way things are done. At this point the Tribe is gone, and a group of people without passion and purpose are left in the gap.
Godin declares that “Heretics” are the new Leaders. He says today’s leaders of Tribes are heretics—the ones who are willing and not afraid to challenge the status quo. Heretics don’t settle for the mediocrity.
The word heretic to me is a strong one that raises mixed emotions. I mean, who really wants to be called a heretic?
Some of us can more easily relate to is a nonconformist. Nonconformists do not conform to the conventional way of doing things. Heretics challenge the Status Quo. Don’t settle. Hate mediocrity.
“Industry Disrupters are brands do not conform to industry norms.” These brands are sometimes controversial and not spoken of favorably in most water cooler conversations. And, like the word heretic, the word disrupter can carry with it a negative undertone.
Are you a Heretic and are you willing to be a Disrupter?
I believe the process and the purpose of declaring a value proposition disrupts the status quo. It is a commitment to thinking differently, planning differently and communicating differently.
The idea is to not conform. To set new rules. To make change. And, call out and disrupt (question) the way some things in your organization have been done for a long time. It is time to challenge the status quo.
Tribes today require bold leadership, says Godin. Bold leaders are daring enough to create the changes they believe in, despite knowing powerful forces exist that strongly oppose change.
Godin continues by suggesting that change is the enemy of the large bureaucratic-run companies. Change is a serious threat to their way of being (decades worth) and current leadership status. This means these companies will fight, HARD, to keep things the same. In addition, they have size, money and power on their side. It’s a common occurrence. Imagine a tug-of-war: the heretic against the bureaucracy. David vs. Goliath.
Change is necessary, but when faced with “Force of Mediocrity,” as Godin describes it, he or she quits. Godin says, “To the many people who would be leaders, they fall victim to the threat rather than a promise.” He reminds us that remarkable visions encounter strong resistance. And, when the visionary starts to make progress, their efforts often meet even more resistance. Traditional models threatened by change will align to stop the bold leader, and they will not back down until it’s over.
And so, Godin describes, few are brave enough to take on the challenge to make change and fight the force of the status quo. The yin and yang are clear: “Without people pushing against your quest to do something worth talking about, it’s unlikely to be worth the journey. Persist!” coaches Godin.
It’s sometimes hard to break the already established rules. While motivating, it’s risky to invest in new ideas and change with no guarantee of success. It requires enormous amounts of faith; faith that change is a better way; a commitment that requires leaders to stand alone until more of the tribe get on board.
I think you will agree that unless we hone in on what matters most to members, to help them better care for the best interests of their customers and their business, that the success of the association is at risk.
Just as the real estate industry is at risk that the consumer perceives more value offered by third-party technology companies, let’s continue to work together to make sure the member sees more value in education, information and tools that come from your association – different and better than what third party education institutions, news sources, and their own networks can provide.
Here’s to leaders like you, who do more than assume you deliver value; you are taking steps to declare and strengthen that link between what members most need and what you do best. Thank you for the chance to know you and help you in a part of this process!
I hope you have a holiday that purposefully includes rest and relaxation and reflection about what Independence Day means to you.
(Thank you to GoodLife for the key points from the Seth Godin Book entitled The Tribe.)