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What’s Your Tribe?

Posted by jamesseetoo on November 19, 2009

Do you lead one?  Do you have one?  It’s a pretty good question these days since there’s a lot of talk about Tribes going around.  And it seems to be an evolving situation but an interesting one since it’s apparent that it’s becoming a very powerful cultural phenomenon.  I would say that it’s probably because of the increased connectivity we all have allows us access to people who have the same views and values.  For more on Tribes, I would recommend Seth Godin’s book, oddly enough titled: Tribes.

I had the priviledge of attending the recent PGC200 ( launch event in San Diego CA.  It’s a group that I’m advising that is creating a tribe.  It’s primarily made up of technical professionals (scientists and engineers) who are banding together to support one another professionally during trying economic times.  The featured speaker at this event was Gary Ridge, President and CEO of WD40 who has recently published a book with Ken Blanchard called Helping People Win at Work.

What’s exciting to watch about the development of PGC200 is that it’s a welcoming place for people who are not usually used to doing things like marketing themselves to interact with others who are good at that type of thing.  And it was only fitting that Gary Ridge was the featured speaker because he has actively worked to develop the Tribe culture at WD40.

In the book, Gary and Ken Blanchard describe a tribe as being a place where someone belongs as opposed to a team which is something someone plays on sometimes.

That’s an interesting definition and I think it’s highly effective when looking at a company’s culture during your job search.  Is it a place where you “belong” or someplace you go to play eight hours a day?

Gary and Ken also define leadership as a partnership which I think is a great definition.  In this partnership, are you helping someone to be successful and is someone helping you?  In this way, you can be a leader without a title and those you help become members of your tribe just as you become members of the tribe of those who help you.

LinkedIn, Facebook and Twitter are good places to find examples of Tribes.  People become followers and friends on these sites based on common interests which can be as simple as a joke of the day.

Like her or not, I think one of the most interesting examples of the Tribe phenomenon is Sarah Palin.  My take on her resigning the governorship of Alaska is that she is leading a tribe of followers, drawing people who are disaffected with their political parties and are looking for a place to belong.  We’ll see if that translates into political office but it’s certainly translated into book sales.

Tribes seem to be popping up all over the place, so maybe it’s time to start yours.  If you’re in a company, help others to be successful and they will become part of your tribe.  If your looking for a job, let your tribe help you. If you don’t have a tribe, start one by going beyond networking to really create a place where people feel they belong in your circle.  As Jay Abraham defines it, it’s the difference between a client and a customer.  A client is someone whose interests you watch out for rather than being in a transactional relationship.

So let me know what you think of this Tribes phenomenon.  I’m interested and hopefully you’re following this blog regularly.  It’s kind of like having a Tribe of my own.

P.S. – PGC200 will be having another event in San Diego in December featuring Ken Blanchard, stay tuned for more information or go to the

Remember, your skills are your job security.


James Seetoo

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