Introduction: Tribes by Seth Godin
While reading Tribes by Seth Godin, I asked myself, “Who looks to you for leadership?” After I finished reading the book, I thought it was a great complement to Simon Sinek’s Start with Why. When you start with why, you have a powerful reason for doing what you do, and you inspire people to follow your lead. Eventually, you will have your own tribe – people who look to you for leadership.
Have you read?
Before I talk about the book, I have a few comments to make first. Is there someone whom you view as larger than life, that appeared for the most part unreachable? Perhaps you have exchanged an email or two with them, but you are not on their radar. Seth Godin is one such person. I have read several of his books – Linchpin, The Dip, Poke the Box, The Purple Cow – and I just finished reading Tribes. I love his work, because it makes me think, and he does not spew out what everyone is spewing out.
An underlying theme in his books is doing great work and getting your ideas out there. Tribes by Seth Godin is 151 pages, but it is a small book. It is not a book that you can rush through if you want to digest the content. Below, you will find my honest thoughts on the book.
Have you read?
What is Tribes by Seth Godin About?
Definition of a Tribe
“A tribe is a group of people connected to one another, connected to a leader, and connected to an idea. For millions of years, human beings have been part of one tribe or another. A group needs only two things to be a tribe: a shared interest and a way to communicate.”
You cannot have a tribe without a leader and you can’t be a leader without a tribe. If you want to have a tribe, you have to make it easy for someone to join. Give them the tools they need to succeed. If you want to start a tribe, ask yourself:
- What can you do to enrich the lives of those around you?
- How can you use your leadership to inspire and motivate others?
- How can you start a movement, spread ideas in a community?
To lead, you need the desire to make something happen. And people yearn for leadership and connection. This is evident with the number of groups on Facebook and LinkedIn. When you love what you do, you do your best work and have the greatest impact. I like that Seth Godin made the distinction between leaders and managers. Leaders have followers and make change, while managers have employees.
Anatomy of a Movement
- Story that tells who you are and the future you are trying to build.
- There must be a connection between and among the leader and the tribe.
- Something to do – the fewer limits the better. Make it easy for people to be a part of the tribe.
Elements in Creating Your Micromovement
- Publish a manifesto: Make it easy to spread your ideas. It is a way of looking at the world. It unites tribe members, giving them a structure.
- Make it easy for followers to connect with you. Be reachable.
- Make it easy for followers to connect with each other. Figure out how to make the interactions work.
- Realize that money is not the point of the movement. Money enables it.
- Track your progress. Create pathways for your followers to contribute to your progress.
Principles of a Movement
- Transparency really is your only option.
Every failed televangelist has learned this the hard way. The people who follow you aren’t stupid. You might go down in scandal or, more likely, from ennui. People can smell subterfuge from a mile away. So it is important to be authentic and believe in what you are standing up for.
- Your movement needs to be bigger than you.
An author and his book, for example, do not constitute a movement. Changing the way people apply to college does. Effecting change can start a movement.
Seven Elements of Leadership
Real leaders do the following seven things:
- Challenge the status quo. When you challenge the status quo, you can also innovate.
- Create a culture around their goal and involve others in that culture.
- Have an extraordinary amount of curiosity about the world they’re trying to change.
- Use charisma to attract and motivate followers. Get others to see their point of view.
- Communicate their vision of the future. Get buy in from others.
- Commit to a vision and make decisions based on that commitment. Talk the talk, and walk the walk.
- Connect their followers to one another.
Final Thoughts: Tribes by Seth Godin
I have wanted to read Tribes by Seth Godin for a while now, and I am glad that I took the time to do so. I am hosting the Strategic Reading Challenge and have a Facebook group. People in the group are not active, and I am beginning to think that I do not have a tribe. After reading Tribes by Seth Godin, I have more information on what a tribe is, and I have a lot of work to do. I have to find the right community of people, who believe what I do, about the importance of reading diversely, and making sure that we read the world.
I had two goals in mind when I created the challenge – to help people to keep their skills sharp, so they decrease the chance of their jobs being lost to automation; and second help people to read the world, to develop the cultural awareness they need to succeed today. When you understand different cultures, it is unlikely you will discriminate against those who are different from you.
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