Tribal Leadership: Tribal Strategy


Part 1: Tribal Leadership: Tribes and Tribal Leaders
Part 2: Tribal Leadership: Tribal Stages and Leverage Points
Part 3: Tribal Leadership: From “I” to “We”
Part 4: Tribal Leadership: Tribal Strategy


Tribal Leadership is a process for leveraging natural groups to build thriving organizations by focusing on language and relationship structures.

As tribes naturally move one cultural stage at a time on a scale of one-to-five, tribal leaders focus on upgrading tribes through cultural stages using leverage points and stabilizing at stage four (“we’re great”), which includes finding and leveraging commitment to resonant core values, aligning on a noble cause, establishing triadic relationships, and building a history-making strategy.

A tribal leader sets a strategy that takes everything into account, especially the tribe itself, along with the market, product & project lifecycle, economics, technology, etc. A tribal strategy (as opposed to a personal strategy) begins at stage four, and people can join in the strategy only if they are at stages three, four, or five. For stage two, the tribal leader should first upgrade the tribe.

A tribal strategy is composed of five parts (core values, noble cause, outcomes, assets, and behaviors) or three separate and interlocking discussions that flow from core values and noble cause with three questions, which the tribe must answer “yes” to before the strategy can be successfully implemented.

Core Values and Noble Cause

A tribal leader engages a tribe in an exploratory process about what the tribe stands for (values) and what it lives for (noble cause). Core values are “principles without which life wouldn’t be worth living”. A noble cause is a “pronouncement of a future state that a tribe will bring about through its coordinated action”.

Outcomes (“What do we want”)

This is a conversation about what we want. Outcomes should be big, specific, measurable, and set in time. A goal is a success in the future, which implies a failure in the present, while an outcome is a present state of success that morphs into a an even bigger success in the future. A tribal leader should ensure outcomes are in line with the tribe’s core values and noble cause.

Assets (“What do we have”)

This is a conversation about what we have. Assets should be heavy, varied, and specific so that they overwhelm the outcome.

Test Question #1: Assets Sufficient for the Outcomes?

The first question is whether the tribe has enough assets to accomplish the outcome. If the answer is “no”, the tribe should focus on an interim strategy to build its assets.

Behaviors (“What we will do”)

This is a conversation about what we will do. Behaviors should be general, consistent, and forwarding so that when accomplished they become assets. Behaviors need to be put in order of implementation. As the tribe puts these behaviors together, individual leaders will step forward.

Test Question#2: Enough Assets for Behaviors?

The second question is whether the tribe has enough assets for the behaviors. If the answer is “no”, the tribe should add assets or modify behaviors.

Question #3: Will Behaviors Accomplish Outcomes?

The third question is whether the behaviors will accomplish the outcomes. Everyone in the tribe should answer this question. Once all of the tribe members have expressed their thoughts, the tribe needs to take the concerns or objections into account. Once all have expressed their thoughts, the tribe needs to take the concerns or objects into account.

Strategy at Scale

This system of strategy works at every scale. Behaviors flow down to outcomes at the next level, and strategies cascade up. All the strategies are coordinated and network together to interlock and form interdependent partnerships fostering mutual accountability.

Stage 5

As the tribe implements the strategy, it may enter stage five such that people experience a team of stable partnerships where their relationships are vital; their behavior expresses innocent wonderment and their language expresses “life is great”. At stage five, competitors exist, but don’t matter, values are vital (life giving) and a noble cause is the tribe’s only compass.

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