Seth Godin's Tribal Leadership Strategies
Permission marketing expert Seth Godin has written a new book called Tribes about leadership in a post-geography world. Is Nuveau Tribalism the path to leadership in the twenty-first century?
Godin's thesis, as Brian Clark recounts in Copyblogger is that the internet allows anyone to become a leader of a tribe big or small, with members from across the planet. And people want you to lead them in all sorts of contexts.
Here's an interview with Godin about how to become a leader.
BC: How does a member of any particular tribe know she’s ready to lead one of her own?
Godin: Well, everyone is a member of a tribe. A community tribe, perhaps, or a spiritual one. The time to go start your own tribe is when you realize the obligation you have to contribute your leadership and when you are passionate enough about a goal that you will make the commitment the tribe demands to get there.
In other words, do it when you care.
If you don’t care, don’t whine, don’t complain. But if there’s change you want to make happen (business change, social change, any change) then this is the way to do it.
BC: You’ve stated that the most interesting things happen at the edges, and I suspect this is true with tribes of all types. I think it’s also true at the intersection of neighboring tribes. Are the edges and intersections the most fertile ground for new leaders?
Godin: If you look at the innovations that we’ve seen online, they’ve all been at the edges. No one wins by saying, “this is a better version of AOL” or “this is a better version of Yahoo.” Google won by finding an edge that Yahoo cared little about (search) and embracing it.
With tribal behavior, we see that most people aren’t interested in joining a new tribe. So who does? Fringe types. Restless folks. Dissatisifed seekers. That means that your earliest members are fellow travelers, people willing to take a leap. THEN they bring in their friends and the growth happens.
It’s rare that we have a schism between different tribes (Arabs and Jews, Shiites and Suunis, Ron Paul and Dennis Kucinich). Far more likely is apathy. Far more likely is that most people are just sitting there doing nothing. The big middle. Your opportunity is to peel folk away from the middle and give them what they want, which is movement and connection.
BC: We here at Copyblogger are obviously big proponents of using quality reader-focused content to become an online leader. Where’s the fine line between giving people what they want and leading them where they need to go?
Godin: Most people have no clue what they want, and if you ask them, you’ll get a lame answer. Most people don’t know they want Pretty Woman or Slumdog Millionaire. They don’t know they want Purple Cow or one of your killer articles. So if you want to have an impact, all you can do is lead. You can’t ask.
BC: You mention repeatedly that Tribes is not a “how to” book, since all tribe-building is unique and context-dependent. Are there any universal principles you can share?
Godin: There are many:
* People want to belong, they want to be missed when they don’t show up.
* Charisma doesn’t make you a leader, leading gives you charisma.
* Most of all, people care about themselves.
* Faith is belief in the future and it is critical. Religion is a set of rules designed to amplify faith at the same time it guarantees the status quo. As you can guess, heretics have a lot of faith, but not so much patience with religion. And heretics are the ones who make change.
* When in doubt, work with small groups. If you can’t find 5 followers, how will you find 1000?
* Talk to people with respect, don’t advertise at them.
* Transparency is your only option, because the tribe will smell artifice.
BC: Does a real leader make moves that the tribe may rebel against, even if only to understand the tribe better?
Godin: It’s not a democracy. It never is. It’s about acting in a way that you’re proud of, that the tribe can interact with. Often, the leader’s job is to come quite close to destroying everything but she does it to get to the end goal that everyone needs.
Pfizer's partnerships strengthen their ability to deliver vaccines in developing countries.
- Pfizer is helping to drive the UN's sustainable development goals through partnerships.
Swiss researchers identify new dangers of modern cocaine.
- Cocaine cut with anti-worming adulterant levamisole may cause brain damage.
- Levamisole can thin out the prefrontal cortex and affect cognitive skills.
- Government health programs should encourage testing of cocaine for purity.
A little goes a long way.
- A recent study from the Department of Health and Human Services found that 80 percent of Americans don't exercise enough.
- Small breaks from work add up, causing experts to recommend short doses of movement rather than waiting to do longer workouts.
- Rethinking what exercise is can help you frame how you move throughout your day.
Civil discourse has fallen to an all time low.
The question that the American populace needs to ask itself now is: how do we fix it?
Discursive fundamentals need to be taught to preserve free expression
In their findings the authors state:
upholding First Amendment ideals.
Talking politics at Thanksgiving dinner
- Progressive Activists: younger, highly engaged, secular, cosmopolitan, angry.
- Traditional Liberals: older, retired, open to compromise, rational, cautious.
- Passive Liberals: unhappy, insecure, distrustful, disillusioned.
- Politically Disengaged: young, low income, distrustful, detached, patriotic, conspiratorial
- Moderates: engaged, civic-minded, middle-of-the-road, pessimistic, Protestant.
- Traditional Conservatives: religious, middle class, patriotic, moralistic.
- Devoted Conservatives: white, retired, highly engaged, uncompromising,
It's interesting to note the authors found that:
"Tribe membership shows strong reliability in predicting views across different political topics."
Here are some statistics on differing viewpoints according to political party:
- 51% of staunch liberals say it's "morally acceptable" to punch Nazis.
- 53% of Republicans favor stripping U.S. citizenship from people who burn the American flag.
- 65% of Republicans say NFL players should be fired if they refuse to stand for the anthem.
- 58% of Democrats say employers should punish employees for offensive Facebook posts.
- 47% of Republicans favor bans on building new mosques.
Here are some guidelines for civic discourse that might come in handy:
- Practice inclusion and listen to who you're speaking to.
Civic discourse in the divisive age
dangerously tribal, fueled by a culture of outrage and taking offense. For the combatants,
the other side can no longer be tolerated, and no price is too high to defeat them.
These tensions are poisoning personal relationships, consuming our politics and
putting our democracy in peril.
Once a country has become tribalized, debates about contested issues from
immigration and trade to economic management, climate change and national security,
become shaped by larger tribal identities. Policy debate gives way to tribal conflicts.
Polarization and tribalism are self-reinforcing and will likely continue to accelerate.
The work of rebuilding our fragmented society needs to start now. It extends from
re-connecting people across the lines of division in local communities all the way to
building a renewed sense of national identity: a bigger story of us."
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