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Tribal Leadership: Leveraging Natural Groups to Build a Thriving Organization
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8 of 9 people found the following review helpful
When I first saw the title of this book before reading it, I immediately recalled great leaders throughout ancient history, including those whom Homer discusses in his two epic poems, the Iliad and the Odyssey as well as those featured in plays written by Aeschylus, Sophocles, and Euripides. More than 2,000 years later, the tribal leaders that Dave Logan, John King, and Halee Fischer-Wright discuss in this book are "natural leaders," as were Achilles, Odysseus, Orestes, and Oedipus. However, they lead fellow workers rather than warriors to "victory" in the business world rather than on a battlefield. Moreover, what the co-authors mean by a "tribe" is a naturally occurring group of 20-150 people. Viewed this way, an organization becomes an interconnect series of these tribes. The key to changing an organization is to upgrade its tribes, one member at a time, through one stage at a time.

As I shall soon discuss in more detail, their view of stages is the key to getting an organization at least to the fourth of five stages of development. Their view is very practical: how to transform an organization. What they propose is based on a ten-year set of research studies that involved 24,000 people in two dozen organizations, with their members located around the world. The co-authors share what they learned from their research in this book.

For example, how to build and then sustain strong relationships between and among an organization's tribal members. As they explain, "Every tribe has a dominant culture, which we can peg on a one-to-five scale, with Stage Five being most desirable. All things being equal, a Five culture will always outperform a Four culture, which will outperform a Three culture, and so on." Paradoxically, the leadership challenge is to strengthen a tribe until it becomes a Four or Five culture while allowing it to function collaboratively within a federation with other tribes. In essence, the strength of a tribe is determined by the health of its culture.

In Chapter 3, Logan, King, and Fischer-Wright introduce and explain what they characterize as "the tribal leadership navigation system." Its purpose is help leaders in the 75% of companies whose workplace tribes have a cultural Stage Three or below to locate the leverage points by which to nudge their company forward (i.e. higher) faster whiled emerging as a tribal leader. The co-authors suggest how to determine the current culture stage and then explain what is needed to reach the next stage.

One key point is that advancing a tribe is most efficiently achieved one member at a time. Aspiring leaders, therefore, must keep in mind that they have two eyes, two ears, but only one mouth. Therefore, they should spend at least 80% of their time observing what is (and isn't) happening and listening to what is (and isn't) said. Those whom Logan, King, and Fischer-Wright cite as effective tribal leaders (e.g. Griffin Hospital's David Charmel, the U.S. Olympic hockey team's Mike Eruzione, IDEO's David Kelley, and the Moore Foundation's Frank Jordan) have highly developed skills for "reading" a person's tone of voice and body language.

Personal note: My own experience while working closely with several hundred companies is that one of the most revealing indicators is workers' use of pronouns. Those who are actively and productively engaged use first-person plural pronouns almost exclusively. Those who are passively engaged or actively disengaged (i.e. dysfunctional) seldom do.

Credit Logan, King, and Fischer-Wright with making especially effective use of various reader-friendly devices. For example, Technical Notes, Key [Chapter] Points, Coaching Tips, Summaries, Leverage Points for a Person (per Stage), and Success Indicators. These devices facilitate, indeed expedite frequent review later.

Here in a single volume is about as much information, insights, and advice as a business leader needs to help her or his "tribe" (be it a department, division, or company) to develop and then sustain at least a Four culture. The success of those efforts, however, must be collaborative in nature and be continuous at all levels and in all areas of the given enterprise.
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on 28 December 2012
I am only halfway through the book but was prompted by Amazon to review and am so enthused that I want to comment now (also noticing that the top right of my screen tells me I have reviewed 1% of my purchases, so this is unusual for me!).
For those who are ready, read this book and it will change your life. It is that simple. If I had read this 10 years ago when everything changed for me, I would have accelerated through my personal development, and arrived at my present state of happiness and contentment a lot sooner.
When I read through the second quarter of chapters, I was astounded by the number of moments when the "penny dropped" - there were just so many that I recognised. Those who know me and worked on the CCA 2006 Programme will recognise those moments, and will understand why it was so good, and how to bring that into their current roles. For everyone else, you have something to look forward to.
When I finish the book, I will post an update (if the system allows this) as I am keen to comment on any reference to a few things - in particular job interview technique. In training courses, a number of people wanted me to stop referring to "we" in interviews and change it to "I", which I found difficult - I now know why I do this, and also know why they advocate the change!
A final point - the author clearly lives the values, as there are numerous references to other people's work, and guidance on how to understand theirs and relate it to this work - so absolutely no rubbishing of other people's theories in order to make this one look better!

Overall - well done!
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on 25 September 2014
This is by far the most interesting business book I've ever read. fascinating and backed by year's of research. you'll start to notice people, teams and business whom fit within each stage mentioned in the book and no doubt, You'll be trying to figure out what stage you're in. Be honest, this book will help you lead better more productive teams.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on 1 January 2013
I loved reading this and even found myself giving it away before I had finished - have had to rebuy it a number of times. The concepts are thought provoking and it is very in tune with the current environment. Essential reading if you want to create the right environment to gain the full benefits of social technology.
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on 19 March 2013
Tribal Leadership is a breath of fresh air. It opened windows into my and my organisation's behaviour and provided practical ways to address it. Just by 'triading' more often, I'm starting to see real change in the way people relate to one another. This book is well worth the time.
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on 7 January 2013
Read this book myself a while ago and liked it so much, I've bought it again for friends in business. I'm not generally one for Business books, but this one was recommended to me. Definitely recommend this as a good read to anyone wanting to get on in their business!
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on 16 April 2013
Interesting read which gently challenges what we should consider to be the best way of leading out companies to success. Is urge everyone who is in a leadership role to read and reflect on its content
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on 3 January 2013
I enjoyed reading this book which gave me plenty of ideas. I would recommend this to anyone who leads a team of people.
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2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
on 5 October 2011
A fabulous book that really makes you think about your leadership style. A good easy read that supports leaders at all levels of development.
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on 27 September 2014
Changed the way I see things. I wish I'd read it earlier.
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