Tribal Leadership

Ideal Creative Leader | Declarations

Week 7

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As an ideal creative leader, I am unafraid to admit when I am wrong. When I am wrong, I admit that I have things to learn from other perspectives, and from other ways of thinking. When I am wrong, I also open the door for others to be wrong without fear of failure.

As an ideal creative leader, I am unafraid to claim my own worth in relation to the global goals. I network fearlessly, collecting tribal members from across the globe using the millennial tools at hand.  I do not react in fear and inhabit Stage 3 mentalities when creating a team. I resonate at Stage Four mentalities that I may pique the interest of other Stage Four entities who have their antennae up, looking for me.

As an ideal creative leader, I am unafraid to play big, tackling the global issues, and not the petty low hanging fruit of other rivals. I am unafraid to find the ways my business values can address paradigm problems, and while I reach for Stage 5, I create and nurse Stage 4 with my collaborators in a stable environment. 

As an ideal creative leader, I am unafraid to let my inner child-like nature out to play. I nurture my inner child with values of forgiveness, social responsibility, non-judgmental play, and day-dreaming. I provide myself with all the resources I need to succeed, physically and mentally.

Tribal Leadership | 3 Blogs

Week 7

This week in Creative Leadership we touch base with my chosen thought leaders in my journey to becoming an effective, emergent leader within the context of Tribal Leadership.

Diving deeper into the amalgams of Neil Croft’s annals of work, “What is Truth?  unpacks environmental repercussions of truth and lies within company culture. He discusses the need to take a look at honesty as a skill, with which we can get better at with some practice, both from the perspective of how to default to honesty and how to deal with lies. Much of truth is subjective, meaning there will often be legitimate perspectives on any situation and understanding the boundary between what is subjectively true and what is subjectively untrue can be a “question of perspectives or differences between values”. Disagreement, in this case, does not mean lies. Really, in this context, “Being honest is an exercise in constant self analysis, to calibrate our observations against our emotions and express our views more as questions or explorations than as statements”. Neil Crofts goes on to state that the best way to measure someone’s contribution to the group is through their level of honesty. If a person is more honest, listens more, and demonstrates empathy, they are less likely to lie.

In CultureSync’s blog, Carrie Kish’s post, “Your Leadership Brand”, takes tribal leadership and brands the experience, equating reputation with workplace culture. She challenges that leader’s most important assets are their reputations, because “research consistently shows that people only follow those whom they admire or respect”. The bad news is leaders do not own their own reputation, the community does. She goes on to outline what a reputation audit can do for a company – asking questions such as “what can you count on me for?”, “what can you not count on me for?”, “what advise do you have for me?”, and “is there anything else?”. From a format of radical honesty and vulnerability, Carrie submits that the best way to build a culture’s internal assets, you create value within your workplace culture.  

Zen Habit’s Leo Babauta is at it again with his zen approach to the ever present if-then statements programmed into our head, with “The Ultimate Productivity, Simplicity, Finance, Happiness, and Weight Loss Hack”. He reiterates his hallmark of “letting go” as the means to understanding why we can’t manage to get what we want – whether it is productivity, simplicity, finances, happiness, or weight loss. The answer to Leo is “letting go of the should”, loosening the grasp of the inevitable, so that we can enjoy the present.  

Contextualizing these leadership blogs with my reading in Tribal Leadership, I’m reminded that folks that reside in Stage 2 and 3 of Tribal Leadership are caught in loops of negativity that prevent them from rising into Stage 4 and 5. Honesty and lying are a huge measure of whether or not a workplace culture is performing the way that they should to help each other commit to a “we’re great” mentality. Crofts explains it succinctly in “What is Truth?”

“These individuals perceive everyone else as being engaged in the same dog eat dog competition, a brutally Darwinian interpretation of society.  Either being honest is not one of their values, so they experience no shame when they are caught out or they have a facility to rationalise any situation entirely subjectively and in their own interests.”

In CultureSync, attracting Stage 4 leaders and tribe members to your group isn’t easy – it resides on whether or not you as a leader are cultivating your biggest asset, your reputation. Without your reputation, you are bound to remain at Stage 3, or worse Stage 2. Leo, in his round about way, talks about an internal view for this reason. By echoing the same sentiment Carrie mentions in her post, and the consistent need for self reflection in the assessment of dishonesty in the workplace, Babauta gives a simple framework within which individual reflection can happen – for the culture shift to begin with you.

I have been greatly enjoying the lenses within which Creative Leadership can blossom, and how all these disparate thought leaders come together to create a larger, synchronized discourse surrounding collaboration.   

3 Blog Posts, and Some Tribal Leadership

This week in "Theresa's Journey Inward" we see three different perspectives from her three thought leaders in Zen Habits, Culture Sync, and Neil Crofts "Holos". 

Zen Habits, "A Guide to Getting Good at Dealing With Chaos" 

In classic Zen style, Leo Baubista sets up another way of applying his wisdom in creating habits surrounding being okay with chaos. In the same vein of understanding that the source of all our problems comes from our own "mind movie", that is, the "ideal life" that we have set out to ascribe to the world, the source of our problem with chaos comes from our own aspirations for things to remain in and fit inside the box. He ascertains that, given some time and practice, we can fix this disjoint between the ideal situation and the situation at hand to give us more immediate joy in the present moment. 

Culture Sync, "A New Hope" 

From the firm that gave us "Tribal Leadership", Culture Sync unpacks moments where revamping internal culture can break open silos. Through an example of breaking down a traditional hierarchical organization, Culture Sync highlights company reaction to the restructuring as "hopeful", and makes some pointed references to Star Wars: Rogue One. Through rebellion at the ground level, Culture Sync strives to point the current social sphere towards a new era where teams are trusted to run organizations through Tribal Leadership. It concludes with a call to action for newbies to take-no-prisoners when creating open discourse in incumbent company culture. 

Holos, "The Opposite of Safety and the Source of Success"

Neil Crofts in this post regarding obedience claims that its opposite isn't anarchy, it is thinking and empowerment. By addressing fear as the main motivator behind unsuccessful business thinking in the age of contemporary thinking, Crofts demerits the ideology that organizations are only for the gain of monetary value and capitalist idealism. Through breaking down what organizations are for, through the codification of cause and code in specialist applications such as education and crisis, we start seeing that the current mode of thinking does not allow for organizations to be more than simply tools for gain. He ends by asking the question again, what are organizations for?

Tribal Leadership: Reading Summary

"Tribal Leadership" explains five tribal stages in their leadership dogma, helping creative leaders identify which actions affect their organizations, and advising on which strategies will enable the tribe to upgrade to the next level. The authors discuss how each stage has a unique set of leverage points and why it is critical to understand them. The five stages include:

  1.  These are tribes whose members are despairingly hostile—they may create scandals, steal from the company, or even threaten violence.
  2. The dominant culture for 25% of workplace tribes, this stage includes members who are passively antagonistic, sarcastic, and resistant to new management initiatives.
  3. 49% of workplace tribes are in this stage. It is marked by knowledge hoarders who want to outwork and outthink their competitors on an individual basis. They are lone warriors who not only want to win, but need to be the best and brightest.
  4. The transition from “I’m great” to “we’re great” comes in this stage where the tribe members are excited to work together for the benefit of the entire company.
  5. Less than 2% of workplace tribal culture is in this stage when members who have made substantial innovations seek to use their potential to make a global impact.

"Tribal Leadership" claims that leaders, managers, and organizations fail to understand, motivate, and grow their tribes, finding it impossible to succeed in an increasingly fragmented world of business. The often counterintuitive findings of Tribal Leadership are designed to help leaders at today’s major corporations, small businesses, and nonprofits learn how to take the people in their organization from adequate to outstanding, to discover the secrets that have led the highest-level tribes to remarkable heights, and to find new ways to succeed where others have failed.

My personal learning from this book stem primarily from a nice, packaged framework from which to understand company culture. Because I already operate in a fragmented, 1099 work environment, I have more than once only ever interacted with Stage 1 or Stage 2 in my contracting work as a freelance theatre and fine artist. I have been truly lucky in some capacity to have a company culture at the moment that allows me to be vulnerable and part of a key team of people aimed at serving the students in an education role. I know that ultimately I will be a lifelong learner, and will have a long and fruitful career as an educator, but at some point I wish to return to the corporate world and see what that has to offer. When I do, I will take the toolkit I have from this book and create some noise where I see fit.