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Building Your Tribe

Recently I keep coming across the saying, “Show me your five closest friends, and I can tell you where you’ll be in 5 years”.  The point being whom we surround ourselves with determines to a great deal where we are going.  I recently read the book “Tribes: We Need You to Lead Us” by Seth Godin and like many things in life, I like to share with my closest friends and family about what I am learning through things I encountered in the world.  As I was talking to Nick about the book I told him how much I liked the ideas, concepts and how relevant the book is.  The reason I think of it as such a good book is likely that it validates and confirms the way I feel about people, business, and building community to a high degree.  It also stretches my ideas and gives me new ways to think and grow in how I view our closest groups. 

Like many people I tend to role my eyes at new catch phrases out there that basically explain a previous idea but now have a new “name” that is all the rage and will be that way for a while until another one comes to be.  Letting go of that tendency, let’s dive into how a tribe is related in the story.  A tribe is a group of people connected to an idea, a leader and one another. 

There are tribes that you want to be apart of and tribes you probably want to avoid.  A tribe you might want to avoid is perhaps a group of guys that meets up at the bar six days a week and talks about how everything is going terrible in their lives.  Sure they are consistent, they have camaraderie and shared experiences but might not be an environment where you want to immerse yourself in for 10-20 years and see how you develop. 

A tribe I recently have come into contact with is the 3000 Miles to a Cure Tribe.  They have a purpose – Raise awareness and funding for Brain cancer research.  They have a passion, pulling in athletes for crazy ultra endurance events.  In addition they have a significant network of brain cancer survivors, associations with medical and research professionals, and a whole community following what they do and progress they are making.  The positive energy, and hope in the midst of such trying circumstances is something that draws me in.  It makes me want to participate and share with my friends.

In modern businesses, especially in start-ups and early stage growth companies building your “Tribe” is essential to your success.  I usually refer to it as building your community, connecting with likeminded individuals and companies or creating value wherever you go.  Building this community takes great leadership and without leadership tribes often dissolve into aimless crowds.

Being a leader within an organization or of an organization is neither easy nor comfortable.  It takes risk; you have to learn to be comfortable with making small mistakes on a regular basis to move forward quickly.  It takes vulnerability and transparency and making space for the time and avenues to connect with your team members and community.  If putting yourself in a position that is neither easy or comfortable but has great potential for connection and gain is appealing to you, then take on the challenge.  Find your tribe, join in, step up, and lead.

Rob DeCou