First, they spent most of their efforts building strong relationships between Griffin’s tribal members—its employees, volunteers, and patients. Second, instead of telling people what to do, they engineered experiences (such as the retreats) in which staff members would look at the same issues they were dealing with, so that strategy became everyone’s problem. Third, they got out of the way and let people contribute in their own way to the emerging tribal goals.
Without the leaders building the tribe, a culture of mediocrity will prevail. Without an inspired tribe, leaders are impotent.
The entire tribe shifts from resisting leadership to seeking it out.
Organizational learning becomes effortless, with the tribe actively teaching its members the latest thinking and practices.
Life sucks, so there’s no point to values, vision, or morality. In fact, these seem like con games designed to make us miss the obvious truth of life, which is that it isn’t fair, it’s a vile place, and we all die. Sure, life would be better if everyone followed the game, but at its core, life sucks, so it’s both better and easier to give in to the reality of the situation.
One of the pitfalls we caution company leaders to avoid is to identify values and then make decisions based on expediency, as if the values didn’t exist. Such behavior depresses a culture, often all the way down to Stage Two, and creates a perception that values are created for the employees while executives are above the law.
The single most important takeaway from Stage Four is that Tribal Leaders follow the core values of the tribe no matter what the cost.
A noble cause is a pronouncement of a future state that a tribe will bring about through its coordinated action. It is bigger than what one person can do alone, no matter how many people are offering technical support; it requires people’s best efforts and passions. It should arouse so much excitement in a tribe that even if people fail, the noble cause was worth the effort.
If you have a similar group, then ask people to write down their version of the noble cause—a statement that expresses their highest aspirations for the tribe.
As we watched Tribal Leaders do their work, we noted that they tended to ask, “What’s working well?” “What’s not working?” “What can we do to make the things that aren’t working, work?” and “Is there anything else?”
When you use triads to solve problems, remind people of shared values.
Some people resist building triads because they think they’ll lose control. Their thought is that this technique may encourage people to undercut them. However, the opposite is true. The rule of reciprocity implies, “Whatever you give out, you’ll get back.”
Effective triading requires a word that we heard people use again and again to describe real Tribal Leaders: “authenticity.”
We’re often asked by people at Stage Two how they can triad with people who won’t even return their calls. The answer is that they first have to go through Stage Three and become great at something,
There’s no shortcut for knowing who is in your tribe, what’s important to them, and what they’re doing.
The objective is for the tribe (not just the leader) to set outcomes so compelling that people will want to form and maintain a Stage Four culture to accomplish them.
It’s not that competitors don’t exist; it’s that they don’t matter.