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Change management: Finding and leading your tribe

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in Leaders & Managers,Management Training

It’s not hard to find tribes. They’re all around us: in church, at work and in the community.

They’ve existed for probably thousands of years, but thanks to the Internet, tribes—from red hats to coffee drinkers to sports fans—are now easily identified and led, says marketing guru Seth Godin.

“What we do for a living now, all of us,” Godin says, “is find something worth changing and then assemble tribes and spread the idea, and it becomes something far bigger than ourselves. It becomes a movement.”

The characteristics of tribal culture include challenging the status quo, building a culture (complete with secret language), allowing curiosity to drive you, and connecting people.

Most leaders find a group that’s disconnected but has a yearning, and fill it. Heretics look at the status quo and decide to change it.

“The Beatles didn’t invent teenagers,” Godin says. “They merely decided to lead them.”

To lead a tribe, ask yourself three questions:

  1. Who am I upsetting? If you’re not upsetting anyone, you’re not changing the status quo.
  2. Who am I connecting?
  3. Who am I leading?

You don’t need permission to lead, Godin adds, and it takes only 24 hours to create a movement.

His advice: “Start it. Do it. We need it.”

— Adapted from “Seth Godin on the tribes we lead,” talk at TEDxUSC, www.ted.com.

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