We probable are all familiar with Tuckman’s stages of group development and this book describes a model to explain how tribes (small company, 20-150 people, Dunbar’s number) or a tribe of tribes (large company) can or have to follow the five tribal stages to become a high performing tribe or thriving organization.
In the first stage we see people cluster together, and their behaviour expresses despairing hostility, such as in a gang (communication: ‘life sucks’).
In the second tribal stage we see a person separate from others who seem to have some power that they lack and their behaviour is characteristic of being apathetic victims (communication: ‘my life sucks’).
In the third stage we see a person who is connected to others in a series of two-person relationships, where they attempt to outperform one another and striving for dominance (communication: ‘I’m great’).
The fourth and fifth tribal stages are the places to be. In the fourth stage, the person forms structures called triads, in which they build values-based relationships between others and established a noble cause. When people at stage four cluster together, they radiate tribal pride (communication: ‘we’re great’). The last stage shares the same characteristics of stage four, except that there is no ‘they’. As a result, these people form ever-growing networks with anyone whose values resonate with their own (communication: ‘life is great’). Once the situation changes, the culture regresses to stage four, where it can move forward once a new opportunity arises or is engineered.
The book contains four parts:
The first part focusses on the Tribal Leadership system. What are corporate tribes and the five tribal stages.
In Part II we get an explanation what your journey as a leader could look like, leading others through the stages, starting in stage one – on a verge of a meltdown, via stage two where we see disconnected and disengaged people and stage three, the wild, wild west. And finally you must have your own the tribal leadership epiphany, your own awakening, before you can make the step into stage four to establish tribal leadership.
Part III describes what it means to own tribal leadership and stabilize stage four. Core values and a noble cause are essential as well as triads and networking. This part ends with a guide on strategy starting with the core values and noble cause, what we want (outcomes), what we have (assets) and what we will do (behaviours) as well as test questions.
Part IV, the last part, gives insights in vital work communities.
In every chapter we get coaching tips and technical notes and many, many real life cases to give in-depth insights. For every stage we get a summary and leverage points for a person in that stage and success indicators for you as a tribal leader.
Conclusion: Great book to understand the dynamics of organizational behaviour and what it means to build high performing tribes or thriving organization and become a real tribe leader. It’s not an easy read but at the end you have many real life cases to help you to make your next step when building or optimizing productivity of your organization or tribe.
Over Henny Portman
Henny Portman is eigenaar van Portman PM[O] Consultancy en biedt begeleiding bij het invoeren en verbeteren van project-, programma- en portfoliomanagement inclusief het opzetten en verder ontwikkelen van PMO's. Hij is auteur en blogger en publiceert regelmatig artikelen.