Seth Godin: Tribal Leadership

Seth Godin’s brain is larger than his head. That leads to a pressure that apparently must be released through him writing blogs. Good for us! Here are some of his thoughts (and some of my thoughts following them) on his post: “Leadership is now the strongest marketing strategy”

Yelling with gusto used to be the best way to advertise your wares. There was plenty of media and if you had plenty of money, you were set. Today, of course, yelling doesn’t work so well. What works is leading. Leading a (relatively) small group of people. Taking them somewhere they’d like to go. Connecting them to one another.

It’s enough if the tribe you lead knows about you and cares about you and wants to follow you. It’s enough if your leadership changes things, galvanizes the audience and puts the status quo under stress. And it’s enough if the leadership you provide makes a difference.

Go down the list of online success stories. The big winners are organizations that give tribes of people a platform to connect.

Go down the list of fashion businesses or business to business organizations. Same thing. Charities, too. Churches, certainly.

It’s so tempting to believe that we are merely broadcasters, putting together a play list and hurtling it out to the rest of the world. Louder is better. But we’re not. Now we’re leaders.

People want to connect. They want you to do the connecting.
What stands out to me first is his statement that “it’s enough” for the tribe you lead to (1) KNOW you (2) CARE about you and (3) WANT to follow you. Those are huge… to know and to care comes only from vulnerability. It’s the key between “knowing of” or “about” someone and really “knowing” a leader. It’s the catalyst for creating empathy and connection on a team regardless of circumstance. It’s the key for building two-way trust. And it’s our responsibility as a leader to create that kind of culture.

The second thing that stood out was the statement that the list of success stories constantly show organizations (certainly churches, he said) that give tribes of people a platform to connect. This doesn’t happen in a corporate gathering of one-way communication to multiple tribes at once… it happens in chewable bites. And it doesn’t happen because of casual contact… it happens specifically through a unified vision or purpose to action… call it addressing a CRISIS… or together simply fixing something broken or improving something that needs improvement. In the Army we had what we called a “Rally Point”. If something goes wrong… and we disconnect somehow… we all know, we can meet back at that place and regroup. It’s a necessary, if not life saving, element of connectivity. No one wants to go at it alone. It’s alone that we are at our weakest. And together that we are at our strongest.


About Brandon Hatmaker

Church Planter, Missional Strategist, Non-Profit Collaborator, and Author of "Barefoot Church: Serving the Least in a Consumer Culture". View all posts by Brandon Hatmaker

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