Seth Godin reintroduced the term “tribe” into our world with his 2008 book Tribes. It’s awesome, I don’t know why it took me so long to read it.
My favorite pieces:
It’s only in the last couple years that businesses have started leveraging the power of showing their processes. It’s a powerful tool for gathering an audience.
While Joel runs a small software company in New York City, his real passion is talking about how to run a small software company. Through blogs and books and conferences, Joel has changed the way many smart people thing about finding, hiring, and managing programmers. Along the way, Joel has assembled a large and influential tribe of people who look to him for leaderhship.
Tribes are simple.
A group needs only two things to be a tribe: a shared interest and a way to communicate.
Human beings can’t help it: we need to belong.
Do you believe in what you do? Every day? It turns out that belief happens to be a brilliant strategy.
More from Joy
“How was your day?” is a question that matters a lot more than it seems. It turns out that the people who like their jobs the most are also the ones who are doing the best work, making the greatest impact, and changing the most.
It’s a criticism when you throw that word at a politician, but all tribes are made up of partisans, the more partisan the better. If you’re a middle-of-the-roader, you don’t bother joining a tribe.
Partisans want to make a difference. Partisans want something to happen (and something else not to happen). Leaders lead when they take positions, when they connect with their tribes, and when they help the tribe connect to itself.
Interest -> Action
So a leader can help increase the effectiveness of the tribe and its members by
- transforming the shared interest into a passionate goal and a desire for change;
- providing tools to allow members to tighten their communications; and
- leveraging the tribe to allow it to grow and gain new members.
Anatomy of a Movement
Senator Bill Bradley defines a movement as having three elements:
- A narrative that tells a story about who we are and the future we’re trying to build
- A connection between and among the leader and the tribe
- Something to do – the fewer limit, the better
Too often organizations fail to do anything but the third.
That’s it – three steps: motivate, connect, and leverage.
Most organizations spend their time marketing to the crowd. Smart organizations assemble the tribe.
1000 True Fans
An individual artist needs only a thousand true fans in her tribe. It’s enough.
Whatever the status quo is, changing it gives you the opportunity to be remarkable.
You Are Leveraged
What I’m saying is that one person – okay, what I really mean is you – has everything. Everything you need to build something far bigger than yourself. The people around you realize this, and they are ready to follow if you’re ready to lead.
“I’m doing what you told me”
The second reason we have factories has nothing to do with efficiency and a lot to do with human nature. Part of us wants stability. We want the absence of responsibility that a factory job can give us. The idea of “I’m doing what you told me to” is very compelling, especially if the alternative is foraging for food or begging on the streets.
Organizations Good, Factories Bad
Organizations are more important than ever before. 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. Most important, organizations have the scale to care for large tribes.
But organizations don’t have to be factories, not anymore. Factories are easy to outsource. Factories can slow you down.
In a battle between two ideas, the best one doesn’t necessarily win. No, the idea that wins is the one with the most fearless heretic behind it.
Another look at winning in the world of words from Nassim Taleb: “As in anything with words, it is not the victory of the most correct, but that of the most charming – or the one who can produce the most academic-sounding material.”
Use Attention, Don’t Hunger for It
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. They use it to unite the tribe and to reinforce its sense of purpose.
Faith is critical to all innovation. Without faith, it’s suicidal to be a leader, to act like a heretic.
Steps to Making Your Movement
The key elements in creating a micromovement consist of five things to do and six principles:
- 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. But it’s a mantra and a motto and a way of looking at the world. It unites your tribe members and gives them a structure.
- Make it easy for your followers to connect with you. […]
- Make it easy for your followers to connect with one another. […]
- Realize that money is not part of the movement. Money exists merely to enable it. The moment you try to cash out is the moment you stunt the growth of your movement.
- Track your progress. Do it publicly and create pathways for your followers to contribute to that progress.
- Transparency really is your only option. […]
- Your movement needs to be bigger than you. […]
- Movements that grow, thrive. […] Don’t mortgage today because you’re in a hurry.
- Movements are made most clear when compared to the status quo or to movements that work to push in the other direction. Movements do less well when compared to other movements with similar goals. Instead of beating them, join them.
- Exclude outsiders. Exclusion is an extremely powerful force for loyalty and attention. Who isn’t part of your movement matters almost as much as who is.
- Tearing others down is never as helpful to a movement as building your followers up.
Be Boldly Wrong
Isaac Newton was totally, fantastically wrong about alchemy, the branch of science he spent most of his career on. He was as wrong as a scientist could be. And yet, he’s widely regarded as the most successful scientist and mathematician ever.
The Secret of Leadership
The secret of leadership is simple: Do what you believe in. Paint a picture. Go there.