Do you lead one? Do you have one? It's a pretty good question these days since there's a lot of talk about Tribes going around. And it seems to be an evolving situation but an interesting one since it's apparent that it's becoming a very powerful cultural phenomenon. I would say that it's probably because of the increased connectivity we all have allows us access to people who have the same views and values. For more on Tribes, I would recommend Seth Godin's book, oddly enough titled: Tribes.

I had the priviledge of attending the recent PGC200 ( launch event in San Diego CA. It's a group that I'm advising that is creating a tribe. It's primarily made up of technical professionals (scientists and engineers) who are banding together to support one another professionally during trying economic times. The featured speaker at this event was Gary Ridge, President and CEO of WD40 who has recently published a book with Ken Blanchard called Helping People Win at Work.

What's exciting to watch about the development of PGC200 is that it's a welcoming place for people who are not usually used to doing things like marketing themselves to interact with others who are good at that type of thing. And it was only fitting that Gary Ridge was the featured speaker because he has actively worked to develop the Tribe culture at WD40.

In the book, Gary and Ken Blanchard describe a tribe as being a place where someone belongs as opposed to a team which is something someone plays on sometimes.

That's an interesting definition and I think it's highly effective when looking at a company's culture during your job search. Is it a place where you "belong" or someplace you go to play eight hours a day?

Gary and Ken also define leadership as a partnership which I think is a great definition. In this partnership, are you helping someone to be successful and is someone helping you? In this way, you can be a leader without a title and those you help become members of your tribe just as you become members of the tribe of those who help you.

LinkedIn, Facebook and Twitter are good places to find examples of Tribes. People become followers and friends on these sites based on common interests which can be as simple as a joke of the day.

Like her or not, I think one of the most interesting examples of the Tribe phenomenon is Sarah Palin. My take on her resigning the governorship of Alaska is that she is leading a tribe of followers, drawing people who are disaffected with their political parties and are looking for a place to belong. We'll see if that translates into political office but it's certainly translated into book sales.

Tribes seem to be popping up all over the place, so maybe it's time to start yours. If you're in a company, help others to be successful and they will become part of your tribe. If your looking for a job, let your tribe help you. If you don't have a tribe, start one by going beyond networking to really create a place where people feel they belong in your circle. As Jay Abraham defines it, it's the difference between a client and a customer. A client is someone whose interests you watch out for rather than being in a transactional relationship.

So let me know what you think of this Tribes phenomenon. I'm interested and hopefully you're following this blog regularly. It's kind of like having a Tribe of my own.

P.S. - PGC200 will be having another event in San Diego in December featuring Ken Blanchard, stay tuned for more information or go to the

Remember, your skills are your job security.

James Seetoo

Views: 78

Comment by Joseph P. Murphy on November 20, 2009 at 3:38pm
When viewed through the lens of cultural anthopology a tribe may present unique language, ritual, rights of passage, and ceremony. Today we call that BRAND.

These artifacts differentiate one tribe from another. Often these practices are passed on, continued via oral tradition. Tweet, Post, update.

Triabl sacred spaces are marked with story telling imagery. Paint your cave walls with digital pigments.

Tribal behaviors emerge continuously as humans are social by nature . Boy Scouts, Gangs, Clubs, The Knights Templar, and professional associations have served those roles.

Social media based tribes transcend the space-time continuum to some degree.

Nothing is new, everything is new.

What blogs, tweet list, linkedIn groups etc., do you subscribe to? Where do you want to belong?

To get some earlier perspective on tribal tendencies and behaviors, see Joseph Campbell, Sam Keen, and Robert Bly.

Time to pass the talking stick.

Worm Digger
Joseph Murphy


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