A Leadership Riddle

If the answer is, “Build your Tribe” ...then what is the question?

Let’s work through the answer first.

1. Know your tribe

Every leader must know their tribe.

Organisations are just a bunch of people who agree to bring their unique skills, knowledge and abilities to a common purpose.

Welcome to your tribe.

Attend a footy game on a Friday night or Sunday afternoon. Observe, or better yet, experience the hoards of families, friends and individuals, anointed and aligned by their club colours, pouring through the gates. They are on song with their team, and their passion is palpable.

Leaders the world over can glean wisdom from this image.

The challenge is to align the unique individuals on your team, to your company cause. You contracted them for the stuff in their heads, but that is only half the picture. The gold lies in what they carry in their hearts.

What are the motifs and rituals of your company that can connect staff to each other and to the organisation?          

Align your people; build your tribe.

2. Build a shared story with your tribe

People who sign up with your company see the organisation through the lens of the contract they signed. They agreed to provide their knowledge, skills and abilities in return for remuneration.

However, here’s the catch.

They actually joined your company because they sensed there was alignment between their career trajectory, and the vision of the company. They know that when the company wins, they win.

As an aside, it always surprises me to find the odd person in a workplace who does not understand this simple equation.

Engage your people, across the organisation to tell the story of your company. Narratives abound when we bring people together, but often leaders are too busy to stop and listen to the stories of their tribes.

Capture and articulate the story of your company.

3. Build your tribal Culture

Humans are a tribal lot.

We like our football clubs, our school groups, mother’s groups, sporting clubs, writing groups and so on. In fact, social media has a life of its own because of the need for humans to feel a sense of connection and belonging.

So it should be no surprise to us to learn that one of the strongest alignments we experience in our lives is the one between ourselves, and our employer.

We spend so much time together.

We are asked to pledge allegiance to the company’s vision, mission and values. Further, we are asked to espouse these at team and strategic events.

Thread the tribal story through the culture of the organisation. A tribe can breathe life into the vision and mission, and deliver on the values of the organisation. They are the lifeblood of the organisation.

Tribal indeed.

So the Question...?

“How do I build a great culture?”

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