Just finished listening to the free audio of Tribal Leadership, I picked it up after listening to the live streaming of Zappos’ quarterly all-hands meeting where Dave Logan (the author) spoke. Excellent, excellent, excellent read…highly recommend it for leaders who want to “see it as it is”…in terms of how they show up as well as how their organization shows up…and then learn the steps to make it even better.
One of the core concepts in the book is that people within an organization, and therefore the organization itself, predominantly operate at one of 5 tribal stages, each characterizing the underlying nature of the organization’s culture.
You can determine which stage people are at by listening to what they say:
[list class=”bullet-minus”] [li]Stage 1 – “Life Sucks”[/li] [li]Stage 2 – “My Life Sucks”[/li] [li]Stage 3 – “I’m Great”[/li] [li]Stage 4 – “We’re Great”[/li] [li]Stage 5 – “Life’s Great”[/li] [/list]
Stage 2 is typified by Scott Adams’ “dilbert” cartoons, my life sucks and my manager is an idiot.
Stage 3 is the “go getter” culture typified by the majority of companies today and interestingly, that by its very nature, fosters a stage 2 counter-culture of “my life sucks” within an organization.
Stage 4 is where people transcend “I” to become “we”, we’re great together. This is the stage at which tribal leaders emerge and core values get enshrined. This is where organizations transition from being good to being great as compared to their competition, “we’re better than they are”.
Stage 5 is where an organization no longer measures itself against an external foe and instead is guided by its higher purpose.
Dave’s insight is that people need to transition through each stage. If you want to affect change in an organization you can’t suddenly jump people from “my life sucks” to “we’re great”, without first passing through and owning “I’m great”.
Another great insight is that what it takes to transition from “my life sucks” to “I’m great” is very different when going from “I’m great” to “we’re great”. The same level of thinking that got you to stage 3 is an anathema to getting you to stage 4.
I encourage you to read this book, even if it only helps you understand why the culture of the organization you work at is the way it is…