Tribal Leadership


Research affirms that just as birds flock and fish school, people tribe. A tribe is a naturally forming group of between 20-150 people. If you are a small company, this can be a single tribe. For large organizations, there can be many tribes, comprised inter-departmentally or across many departments. For example, it is easy to spot the culture difference between sales and engineering. Tribes operate at different cultural stages, which can positively or negatively impact your results as an organization. A high performing tribe can be three to five times more productive than an ordinary tribe.   Author Edgar H. Schein, MIT’s sage of organizational culture, says changing a culture is about, “observation, inquiry, and leverage. This means observing the ways in which an organization’s employees act; deducing (or inquiring about) the ways they think; and putting in place small behavioral changes that lead them, bit by bit, to think about things differently.” (Strategy + Business, Feb 2011)   What the book Tribal Leadership does, is map, for the first time, five stages of corporate culture and the unique leverage points to nudge a group forward. The authors grouped the stages based on the language used and the structure of the relationship.