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Tribal Leadership: Leveraging Natural Groups to Build a Thriving Organization Paperback – May 30 2011


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Product Details

  • Paperback: 320 pages
  • Publisher: Harper Business; Reprint edition (May 30 2011)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0061251321
  • ISBN-13: 978-0061251320
  • Product Dimensions: 13.5 x 2 x 20.3 cm
  • Shipping Weight: 227 g
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (4 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #2,881 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Product Description

From Publishers Weekly

The authors, management consultants and partners of JeffersonLarsonSmith, offer a fascinating look at corporate tribes—groups of 20–150 people within a company that come together on their own rather than through management decisions—and how executives can use tribes to maximize productivity and profit. Drawing upon research from a 10-year study of more than 24,000 people in two dozen organizations, they argue that tribes have the greatest influence in determining how much and what quality work gets done. The authors identify the five stages of employee tribal development—Life sucks, My life sucks, I'm great and you're not, We're great and Life is great—and offer advice on how to manage these groups. They also share insights from the health care, philanthropic, engineering, biotechnology and other industries and include key points lists for each chapter. Particularly useful is the Tribal Leader's Cheat Sheet, which helps determine and assess success indicators. Well written and enlightening, this book will be of interest to business professionals at all levels. (Feb.)
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

Review

“Tribal Leadership gives amazingly insightful perspective on how people interact and succeed. I learned about myself and learned lessons I will carry with me and reflect on for the rest of my life.” (John W. Fanning, Founding Chairman and CEO napster Inc.)

“[A]n unusually nuanced view of high-performance cultures. . . . [S]hare the book with your Type A’s and prima donnas, as it expertly describes the tension between loners who perform exceptionally and those who perform exceptionally but who measure success as part of a team.” (Inc.)

“[T]he most thorough and unique book to come along pertaining to organizational dynamics in quite some time....Whether you’re trying to move an organization forward or trying to move forward yourself, Tribal Leadership is a great place to begin your efforts. (Business Lexington)

“Leaders of both for profit and non-profit organizations, including politicians, and can benefit from perusing Tribal Leadership.” (McClatchy-Tribune News Service)

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Front Cover | Copyright | Table of Contents | Excerpt | Index | Back Cover
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Ponphair on Feb. 13 2012
Format: Paperback
Before entering the final phase of my MBA program I recently began a marathon of business related book reading in order to brush up on my knowledge. I began with classics like "Good to Great" by Jim Collins, "Leading Change" by John Kotter and though these are great books I had pretty much covered all the material in the MBA program. Reading these books was more of a review than injecting any new materials.

The reason for my marathon read (of about ten books) was that during my education I felt that there was an essential component that was missing. I was on a mission searching for this missing link. Through one of my network connections I had been given the suggestion to read Tribal Leadership.
Despite my suspicion of "new age" style literature I am very glad that I listened to them. I can, without a doubt, claim that that this book was one of the most important books that I have ever read. Not only did the authors supply me with the academic support for many of my own beliefs, they provided me with a new way to view the world, through the language that people use. This book portrayed a very accurate and realistic view that, I believe, can change the world. I know that Tribal Leadership is a huge link in closing the missing elements in my education and personal development.

I easily give this book five stars both for content and style. It was a pleasure to read and it will sit on a prominent place on my shelf of limited but valuable reference books. I would certainly recommend that any leader or manager in any organization pick up this book and give it a read.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Robert Morris HALL OF FAMETOP 10 REVIEWER on March 21 2012
Format: Hardcover
When I first saw the title of this book before reading it, I immediately recalled great leaders throughout ancient history, including those whom Homer discusses in his two epic poems, the Iliad and the Odyssey as well as those featured in plays written by Aeschylus, Sophocles, and Euripides. More than 2,000 years later, the tribal leaders that Dave Logan, John King, and Halee Fischer-Wright discuss in this book are "natural leaders," as were Achilles, Odysseus, Orestes, and Oedipus. However, they lead fellow workers rather than warriors to "victory" in the business world rather than on a battlefield. Moreover, what the co-authors mean by a "tribe" is a naturally occurring group of 20-150 people. Viewed this way, an organization becomes an interconnect series of these tribes. The key to changing an organization is to upgrade its tribes, one member at a time, through one stage at a time.

As I shall soon discuss in more detail, their view of stages is the key to getting an organization at least to the fourth of five stages of development. Their view is very practical: how to transform an organization. What they propose is based on a ten-year set of research studies that involved 24,000 people in two dozen organizations, with their members located around the world. The co-authors share what they learned from their research in this book.

For example, how to build and then sustain strong relationships between and among an organization's tribal members. As they explain, "Every tribe has a dominant culture, which we can peg on a one-to-five scale, with Stage Five being most desirable. All things being equal, a Five culture will always outperform a Four culture, which will outperform a Three culture, and so on.
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
Allows you to clearly see the culture(s) around you, and how to become a leader improving yourself and those around you at the same time
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1 of 2 people found the following review helpful By MaxPero on Feb. 5 2012
Format: Paperback
The quality of the product is very very good. I'm very happy of the book and the quality of the service. The order didn't take long to come too... which is good!
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)

Amazon.com: 170 reviews
47 of 49 people found the following review helpful
A Must-Read Work on Leadership and Organizations Jan. 12 2011
By Steven Savage - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
PROS:

* Provides a researched system of classifying organizations and businesses as "tribes" that is easy to apply.
* Has useful ideas for helping people "tribe up" and improve their relations and improve organizational relations.
* Very readable and understandable.
* Doesn't pull punches on some of the conclusions.

CONS:

* Some historical interpretations are arguable.

SUMMARY: Buy this book and read it unless you have no interest in community, leadership, and business. In that case you're probably not even reading this blog.

Leadership books. I've been getting tired of them ever since people started deciding "The Art of War" could by applied to businesses if you ignored all the war, killing, use of fire, and soforth in the book. Everyone talks about Leadership in business and in the world, but as I don't see any improvement out there as the amount of lame Leadership books increase, so I assume most of these texts aren't that useful.

At the same time, I'm very interested of issues in Leadership since I don't see nearly enough of it. I see bean-counting management, rock-star style poseurs, and exploitative jerks with a narrative. I don't see enough leadership in business, politics, media, or more - real, rallying, directing, powerful leadership.

Tribal Leadership is the kind of book I've been waiting for. It not only explores issue of leadership, mostly (but not entirely) dealing with business, but issues of culture, organization, and community. In many ways its a book of applied sociology that happens to focus mostly on business.

Based on research covering a decade, the book lays out a very clear thesis:

1. Humans naturally form tribes.
2. These tribes can be classified into 5 types each with a unique attitude towards life, and become more functional as you move from Type 1 to Type 5.
3. It is possible to coach people and groups to "tribe up" the scale to become more cohesive, functional, and productive (and in some cases at least less pathological)

The book is split between describing the theories, and describing how people and groups can advance from lower to higher Tribal levels. Each chapter leads naturally to the next, and handy checklists and bulletpoints help you keep track of important ideas. This clear focus and organization makes the book easy to read, refer to, and use.

As for the theory itself? It's simple and intuitive Essentially there are five tribal types, each defined by an attitude of members:
Level 1 - "Life Sucks" - pathological, gang-like, angry.
Level 2 - "My Life Sucks" - a mix of learned helplessness, bitterness.
Level 3 - "I'm Great" - Productive and dynamic but egocentric.
Level 4 - "We're Great" - tribe-oriented, creative, productive, tight.
Level 5 - "Life Is Great" - Big-picture, tribe-connecting.

You can probably guess right now which level you and your friends and co-workers function at (hint: you're probably also wrong).

The theory itself is extremely applicable in my experience, and the authors give extensive information to help you understand where you and your various organizations fit on the tribal scale. The clear boundaries of levels, straightforward explanations, and explanations of the classifications helps you use this theory and see the sheer lack of B.S. Just be prepared for a few ego-bruises because most people think they function higher than they do (and this book will puncture your illusions).

The theory comes with tips, advice, and directions for raising tribal level of people and organization. These sections are straightforward with excellent detail, from things to try, to signs to look for to identify personal progress. Again there's a refreshing lack of B.S. here.

So is the book flawless? No. There's a few moments of historical reference and metaphor that seem stretched or that I disagree with. There could be some better explanation of techniques at a few points.

These are minor concerns.

Here's what you need to know about this book- you should read it unless you have a reason not to, like a lack of money or being currently dead.

How much did I like this book? I've given two copies as gifts and my Kindle edition is filled with notes, I've joined a group to discuss it, founded another, and am discussing applying it's philosophy with other people. Yeah, I was impressed.

This is a must-read
57 of 64 people found the following review helpful
Insightful but not necessarily rigorous March 30 2010
By Mr Likeable - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
What I liked:
Rich insights into human behaviour, group dynamics and individual motivation.
Very useful, structured and specific suggestions - in essence, management tips that can be applied.
More readable than the average business book - well written.
I would have liked:
Less of a "consultant hard sell" tone. I think there's an emerging pattern of consultant academics writing books that over-sell the observations within, and verge on style exceeding substance. There is good stuff in this book, and the tips appear sensible, but the constant "move up one level at a time" to "the fifth level that we don't even know yet" ...maybe it's just me, but I think this book would benefit by turning down the volume; not every set of consultants' observations needs to promise a transformed world - it's not going to happen. I think this is a common problem in current business literature.
Summary:
In my view, a very accessible and useful book that possibly over-estimates its own "system".
I'd recommend it to young managers as a very good introduction to organisational dynamics, and to entrepreneurs who need a little help understanding the motivations of their employees.
This book probably augments "Good To Great" quite nicely - if you liked that, you might like this; I'd read "Good To Great" first.
34 of 40 people found the following review helpful
What stage are you and your company? How do you get to the next level? Jan. 23 2008
By Rich - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Hardcover
The most insightful management book I've read since business school.

The book starts with an accessible framework for evaluating corporate cultures, each with instantly recognizable traits -- from the DMV to Apple to your company. Stage 1: Life sucks. Stage 2: My life sucks. Stage 3: I'm great (and you're not). Stage 4: We're great (and they're not). Stage 5: Life is great.

While the vast majority of the working world is stuck in stages 2 and 3, Tribal Leadership delivers tools to help individuals and organizations break through to the next evolutionary stage. I found this a powerful, pragmatic and surprisingly fun read.
11 of 11 people found the following review helpful
A new way to look at Leadership July 2 2012
By Shawn Kinkade - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I read a lot of business books and a lot of books on leadership - most of them have at least a few good ideas in them, but this is the first leadership book I've read that's driven me to look at organizations and the art of leadership in a completely different way. Another reviewer mentioned that it was liking having someone giving you glasses and suddenly being able to see in a completely different way - I felt that way as well. Even better, this isn't a book that just shares some opinions or ideas, with over 10 years of research across 24,000 people it's pretty clear the authors did a lot of hard research to figure out Tribal Leadership.

What is Tribal Leadership - in a nutshell it's a completely new framework for how to look at leadership and creating high performing organizations. It's not about strategy and it's all about the culture and the evolution of the organization. It turns out there are 5 distinct stages of organizational culture that all build on one another.

Stage 1 - Life Sucks...equivalent of a street gang mentality, not really a factor in most professional settings
Stage 2 - My Life Sucks...Dilbert, the employees at Dunder Mifflin (The Office) or the employees at Initech Software (Office Space) are great, if a little over done examples of Stage 2 cultures.
Stage 3 - I'm Great! (and you're not) - the lone warrior who is very competent and effective by themselves, but doesn't share well with others. Office politics, bad management practices and Stage 2 Cultures all come from Stage 3 managers.

Stage 4 - We're Great - the language changes from I, Me to We and Us. It's all about the success of the team vs. individual accomplishments. The only way to really get to Stage 4 is to really 'own' stage 3. Stage 4 organizations will significantly out perform Stage 3 and lower organizations in terms of financial results and ability to get things done.

Stage 5 - Life is Great...this stage occurs sporadically when Stage 4 organizations rise to a significant challenge and do something borderline miraculous (Think the 1980 Miracle on Ice US Hockey victory).

In order to get an organization to Stage 4, the majority of people within an organization need to be at Stage 4...they need to have reached an epiphany in Stage 3 that doing everything yourself isn't productive in the long run - you've got to have a team that you can count on if you really want to make things happen.

A couple of key ideas that are critical for Stage 4 include:
Triadic relationships - basically the idea that a group of 3 people can form a very effective and stable relationship when they all 3 share the burden of making the relationship successful.
Core Values - In order to reach a stage 4 culture, a group must have clearly stated alignment on core values...the types of values that make getting up in the morning important!
Noble Cause - Finally, Stage 4 cultures revolve around ideas that are bigger than any 1 person...you must have a Noble Cause that everyone understands and gets behind.

It's tough to summarize these really big ideas - but hopefully that gives you a taste. The book has a lot of interesting stories and examples and the authors do a nice job of stepping you through the ideas in a logical flow that makes a lot of sense. If you're looking for a set of ideas that will really shake up how you think and how you create a team that will do more...a lot more than you need to check out Tribal Leadership!
50 of 62 people found the following review helpful
If you only read one book on organizational culture, this should be it Jan. 23 2008
By Russell Gonnering - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Hardcover
To all those wondering "Why?" and "How?" certain organizations are more productive than their peers, Logan, King and Fischer-Wright have some concrete answers. In their landmark book, "Tribal Leadership", they explore the essence of organizational culture. What they have uncovered is a dynamic at least 15,000 years in the making, and at the heart of all human organizations: the tribe. We operate in a "tribe"-a group of 20 to 150 people- in which important decisions are made and productivity is determined. Larger organizations are "tribes of tribes". Five stages describe the evolution of the tribe, from savage and dysfunctional to innovative and powerfully inspirational. What sets this work apart is its practical advice on both identifying the stage of the tribe and the means to advance to the next stage. Laced with real-life examples, the book is eminently readable. There is no doubt it will transform the reader, no matter where their own tribe finds itself. They will understand the difference between leading and commanding.


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