Call it a clan, call it a network, call it a tribe, call it a family. Whatever you call it, whoever you are, you need one. – Jane Howard (1935-1996), Families
Author and professor David Logan described five levels of tribal behavior at TEDxUSC in 2009:
- Life sucks. I despair, and therefore am actively hostile. (2%)
- My life sucks. I am a victim. While life could be good, I haven’t got X, so it isn’t. (25%)
- I’m great (and you’re not). I’m focused solely on my own accomplishments and goals. (48% of employee tribes are here.)
- We’re great. I’m a tribesman, part of something greater than myself. (22% – think Zappos.)
- Life is great. I approach the possibilities of life with wonder, bringing tribes together for the joy of something even greater. (“Only 2% – and those are the ones that change the world.”)
(Posts by Matt Corker and ThinkAtheist helped me sum these up.)
Author and journalist Jane Howard described what made a family work:
- Leadership. A chief who sets a great example.
- Organization. A manager who minds calendars and keeps the history.
- Mythology. Organically developed rituals, and a person who keeps them.
- Hospitality. Willingness to give of oneself to each other.
- Freedom. While being important to its members, it believes in life outside too.
- Honesty. Dealing straightforwardly with the bad things in life.
- Affection. Tangible, physical love.
- Home. A sense of place.
- Respect. Homage to elders.
- Connection. Helping the young, the future, come into their own.
What does this mean for the groups you’re part of, how you motivate people, and how you can do greater things?
- Look critically at the tribes you’re part of and see which you are proudest of. Which matter most to you? Groucho Marx said “I don’t want to belong to any club that will accept me as a member.” Are you sure you want to belong to the tribes you’re in?
- Speak on whichever level is necessary. People can only hear one level above and below where they are. If they’re mired in despair, you can’t wrench them up to global philanthropy, but you could help them see that other people are part of something cool. You have to help people move slowly up into higher-level tribes.
- If you care about the tribes you’re a part of, you need to help each of those ten attributes develop.