#reviewandreflect: Tribal Forces–3 Vital Elements in the Creation of Your Tribe

#reviewandreflect: Tribal Forces–3 Vital Elements in the Creation of Your Tribe

i love my tribe

This is TheSchoolHouse302’s monthly #review&reflect, wrapping up our focus on Tribal Forces–3 Vital Elements in the Creation of Your Tribe. Our review and reflect offers readers the opportunity to take a deep dive into our leadership content by taking time to reflect and identify the skills you need, to explore how you can learn those skills, and to connect with industry leaders to follow to gain greater expertise.

Skills I need…

Everyone needs to be a part of a strong, reliable, and productive community. Not only do we need to be a part of one, but we have a deep desire to belong to something terrific that can make a difference and fill us with purpose and meaning. The question is, does your tribe, those you associate with both personally and professionally, make you a better and more effective individual?

Review: There are three vital elements associated with harnessing people and leveraging the power of what we call Tribal Forces.

tribal forces

Each part of the model represents a key aspect of a productive and powerful tribe. The first, The Power of Ideas, recognizes that we live in an age of excessive information; however, filtering and gleaning key ideas from multiple sources can generate momentum and lead to growth. The second, The Power of Connection, identifies our need for socialization and community. Leveraged correctly, strong relationships lead to a high degree of synergy and reinforces our overall purpose. The third, The Power of Ideals, is our guiding light, which ensures that our work stays on course and that we are directed by our core values. Together, all three create a powerful trifecta that can mobilize any team by creating powerful relationships that yield tremendous results.

We also acknowledged, though, that there are tribal traps that can thwart any leaders best intentions. These traps, or leadership flaws, can surface at any time and are the exact opposite characteristics and qualities that create a powerful tribe:

Tribal Forces versus Leadership Flaws:

  • Ideas and open-communication versus isolation and lack of transparency.
  • Connection and relationships versus rules and over-bearing policies.
  • Values and beliefs versus rationality and a bottom line.

Reflect: The beauty of the Tribal Forces Model is that it leverages what is most important to people and the qualities that are advantageous for organizations. People don’t work well together when they feel disconnected. And, no one can move forward when the guideposts aren’t clear on the road ahead. The good news is that leaders can decide today to embrace them and make a difference in themselves and the community they create.

Take 3 Minutes to reflect on your ability to create a strong tribe.

  • How does your team currently share ideas and problem solve?
  • What actions do you need to take to create a stronger connection among your team members?
  • What distinguishes your team and your organization from others?


How do I learn those skills…

What should I read to create stronger Tribal Forces in life?

Review: In our #readthisseries we featured the work of authors who clearly articulate the power of tribes through practical strategies and tools that anyone can adopt:

SmartTribes: How teams become brilliant together  by Christine Comaford

Fish: A proven way to boost morale and improve results by Stephen Lundin, Harry Paul, and John Christensen

Born to run: A hidden tribe, superathletes, and the greatest race the world has never seen by Christopher McDougall

You can’t miss our #readthisseries on 3 books you need to read for a stronger tribe.

Self Assessment:

Effective and productive leaders recognize the power of ideas, connection, and ideals. Based on the 3-part assessment, and using a 5-point scale, 1 being ineffective and 5 being highly effective, rate yourself:


Based on the questions above, which aspect of the Tribal Forces Model do you need to develop further?

Who should I follow…

What does an expert have to say about tribes, optimal performance, and compassionate leadership?

Review: For our #onethingseries, we interviewed Christine Comaford. Christine is the author of three bestselling business books: Power Your Tribe: Create Resilient Teams in Turbulent Times, SmartTribes: How Teams Become Brilliant Together, and Rules for Renegades.

Action: Christine identifies three critical areas that we are constantly craving as humans–Safety, Belonging, and Mattering. She breaks down these areas, including the 10 powerful questions you can ask to assess your own environment so that people are functioning at an optimal level. The question is, what can you do to ensure that your team feels safe, has a sense of belonging, and know that they matter?

Let us know!

Listen to the entire podcast on iTunes, One Thing Series, and please rate and like (it helps).

That’s our #review&reflect for Tribal Forces–3 Vital Elements in the Creation of Your Tribe. Take a look back to take a step forward.

TheSchoolHouse302 is about getting to simple and maximizing effective research-based strategies that empower individuals to lead better and grow faster.

Please let us know how our leadership posts are working for you, what you are reading to improve yourself, and your thoughts on leadership and growth here on our blog and Twitter. Follow our #onethingseries podcast on iTunes and our #readthisseries on YouTube.

Joe & T.J.


#readthisseries: 3 Books You Need to Read for a Stronger Tribe of Followers

#readthisseries: 3 Books You Need to Read for a Stronger Tribe of Followers


Don’t miss this vblog on books you need to read to lead better and grow faster. We recommend three titles that are must-reads on the topic of building a tribe of followers and connecting better with people. You can find our catalog of great leadership books at theschoolhouse302.com — click on #readthisseries.

Comaford, C. (2013). SmartTribes: How teams become brilliant together. New York: Penguin.

Lundin, S.C. (1995). Fish: A proven way to boost morale and improve results. New York: Warner Books.

McDougall, C. (2009). Born to run: A hidden tribe, superathletes, and the greatest race the world has never seen. New York: Random House.

As always, please like, follow, and comment. If you have books that we should read and recommend, please let us know that as well.

Joe & T.J.

#onethingseries: Tribes, Optimal Performance, & Compassionate Leadership w/ Christine Comaford

#onethingseries: Tribes, Optimal Performance, & Compassionate Leadership w/ Christine Comaford


Don’t miss this leadership interview with Christine Comaford. Christine’s coaching, consulting, and strategies have created hundreds of billions of dollars in new revenue and company value for her clients. The potent neuroscience techniques she teaches are easy to learn and immediately applicable to help leaders see into their blind spots, expand their vision, and more effectively influence outcomes.

Christine was recently named one of the Top 50 Human Behavior Experts to Follow in 2017. She is also one of the Global Employee Engagement Influencers. As an entrepreneur, she has built and sold 5 of her own businesses with an average of 700% return on investment. She has served as a board director or an in-the-trenches advisor to 36 startups.  Christine has consulted to the White House twice (Clinton and Bush), 700 of the Fortune 1000, and over 300 small and medium-sized businesses. She has repeatedly identified and championed key trends and technologies years before market acceptance, due in part to her work as a software engineer in the early days of Microsoft, Apple, and Adobe.

Christine is a leadership columnist for www.Forbes.com and she lectures at Harvard Business School. She has appeared on Good Morning America, CNN, CNBC, MSNBC, FOX Business Network, PBS, and CNET. And the Stanford Graduate School of Business has done two case studies on her unconventional rise to success as a woman with neither a high school diploma nor a college degree.

Her three bestselling business books are: Power Your Tribe: Create Resilient Teams in Turbulent Times, SmartTribes: How Teams Become Brilliant Together, and Rules for Renegades.

Her interview with TheSchoolHouse302 was incredibly insightful, all about building your tribe and much, much more.

  • Christine identifies three critical areas that we are constantly craving as humans–Safety, Belonging, and Mattering. Listen to her breakdown these areas, including the 10 powerful questions you can ask to assess your own environment so that people are functioning at an optimal level.
  • She talked about being open to learn by being still and finding silence. Paying attention to the Japanese concept of ma, the space between the noise that holds richness and value.
  • She advises us to meditate. to slow down for inspiration and take control of our thinking, which is incessantly repetitive. Listen to her morning routine to make sure that you start your day off right.
  • The one thing she said she wants to do is to be compassionate all the time, to meet people where they are and not where she may think they should be. Don’t miss it.
  • She talks about the powerful work of Michael Singer and his incredible book, Untethered Soul: The Journey Beyond Yourself. She also dives into the powerful, Outcome Frame, to help us understand what we truly want.
  • Lastly, you can’t miss her emotional story about her mother and how she learned that stress can be controlled.

Christine’s interview is filled with practical advice for leaders and it really speaks to how we can behave and act to perform at higher levels and influence others to do the same. She reminds us to Power Your Tribe and build emotional resilience. To find out more visit: https://smarttribesinstitute.com/subscribe.

Please follow, like, and comment; it really helps. Use #onethingseries and #SH302 so that we can find you.

Joe & T.J.

#SH302: Tribal Forces–3 Vital Elements in the Creation of Your Tribe

#SH302: Tribal Forces–3 Vital Elements in the Creation of Your Tribe


“A tribe is a group of people connected to one another, connected to a leader, and connected to an idea. For millions of years, human beings have been part of one tribe or another. A group needs only two things to be a tribe: a shared interest and a way to communicate.” ~ Seth Godin

The Tribal Force: A Compelling Cause

The magnetic force of great relationships is unbelievable. Perhaps the bond comes from something simple, even crazy, like an idea, a belief, or even hopefulness and the possibility of a future. Regardless of what it is, as Seth Godin (2008) writes, “human beings can’t help it: we need to belong.” This desire to belong is based on wanting to make a difference, and it is born from passion. As humans, we have a tremendous need to connect, to be a part of something meaningful and powerful that can inspire and transform people and communities. We see this in every sector of life, where people come together to be part of something that gives them meaning, hope, identity, and a cause. Within the professional realm, and as a leader, the power of your cause must be so compelling that it harnesses an unbridled belief that drives the work. The cause lives in the gap between good environments and great ones. There are three vital elements associated with harnessing people and leveraging the power of what we call Tribal Forces. But, be careful because each tribal force has its own tribal trap.

tribal forces

The Power of Ideas

We live in a world with a great deal of information, and it can be challenging to filter the noise so that we can more clearly hear the important messages amidst all of the clamor and commotion. Consider YouTube as a world provider of instructional videos and a massive messaging outlet for people of all ages. With over 400 hours of content uploaded every minute, YouTube has over 1 billion hours of material watched every day. Despite the enormity of idea-sharing available on the platform, there is one video that over 5 million people have enjoyed, posted by Derek Sivers in 2010, called the First Follower: Leadership Lessons from the Dancing Guy. The essence of this 3-minute recording demonstrates that for great ideas to grow, they must always attract a first follower. To have power and the ability to develop a strong tribe, ideas must generate momentum. The first follower supports the movement by actually inviting others to be included. In this case, we’re talking about a wacky dance, but any idea can be the force that forms a tribe of people. The clear communication of a concept coupled with only a few early adopters is precisely what makes for a viable audience and a shared acceptance for one another. “If the leader is the flint, the first follower is the spark that makes the fire.” Sharing an idea is always the first step in creating a tribe.

Tribal Trap #1: A Dangerous Leadership Flaw

Many leaders operate in isolation, lacking transparency and subsequently failing to attract those who will support and champion the work. The Dancing Guy was available for everyone to see, which ultimately engaged the first follower, and, in turn, drew a massive crowd. Too many leaders are trapped by a lack of openness. To break the barrier, we must share ideas, which means that we might fall prey to ridicule and judgement. If you study The Dancing Guy, you realize that prior to the first follower there were plenty of jeering, laughter, and even taunting around his peculiar dance moves. But real leaders always keep dancing despite any disparagement or scorn. Don’t fall into the trap of isolation just because your first follower hasn’t arrived yet. Next time you feel the need to shut yourself off from the world to get the work done, ask yourself who else should be on the team: Is there a movement, or am I alone?

The Power of Connection

Isolation not only limits the power of an idea, it also dramatically diminishes a leader’s ability to influence. Humans are inherently social, and we thrive in networks of association. Benjamin Hardy, author of Willpower Doesn’t Work, reminds readers of a 75-year study of two groups, conducted by Grant and Glueck at Harvard University. The study revealed that relationships have an incredible impact on both health and wellbeing, to include longer, happier lives when they’re strong, especially in later years and in marriage. The devastating reality is that our current social constructs encourage too much independence and a greater emphasis on individualism. According to Sebastian Junger (2017) much of our psychological stress is due to the growing social insistence that we must be unique in every way. But, we must fight against the urge to create our own avatar by using the force of connection with others. A strong community helps people live and cope with the harsh circumstances that we face each day in life and work. Our very nature is designed for fellowship, and although a world of social media might seem “social,” it limits our personal connections. Humans thrive on a sense of purpose, which includes the ability to contribute to a larger cause. The one common ingredient that separates great leaders from average leaders is their emotional intelligence and their distinct ability to connect with all walks of life. Highly influential leaders are responsive to the needs of their people because of their ability to empathize deeply. Through the building of strong social networks, they increase everyone’s sense of belonging to one another and the work. They spark the force of a tribal connection.

Tribal Trap #2: A Dangerous Leadership Flaw

Too often leaders overly rely on their cognitive prowess and technical expertise to lead their organization. Although both are critical, it is only by harnessing the power of the people, through strong interpersonal connections within the organization, that we truly yield tremendous results. By listening and remaining sensitive to key signals, an attuned leader will hear far more than just what is being said. The trap is in thinking that technique, protocols, policies, and procedures are what govern important outcomes, and that’s not the case. It’s relationships. If we’re not thinking together, we’re not working together. Next time you have an inclination to create a new policy or protocol, stop and ask yourself if everyone is on the same page: Are we a community, or am I the expert?

The Power of  Ideals

On this very day, January 6, 1941 (the day of this post), Franklin D. Roosevelt delivered his powerful “Four Freedoms” speech. FDR’s state of the union address was truly a cry to uphold our greatest ideals by fighting for freedom against enemy forces to protect our global tribe. His call for the U.S. to end neutrality and engage in war epitomizes the sacrifice that needs to be made when we truly believe in, and are guided by, our beliefs. Most leaders will never have to face the grave decision of going to war, but all leaders will need to make the difficult decisions to ensure alignment to their company’s ideals. Christine Comaford is an applied neuroscience expert in the field of behavioral modification and organizational development. She teaches that it’s only through focus, clarity, accountability, influence, and sustainability that leaders can create a culture where progress can take place rapidly and still maintain alignment. The critical difference that distinguishes progressive companies from those who lag behind in any given industry is through leadership practices and decisions that reinforce the organization’s purpose. This means that ideals have to be front-and-center in the decision-making process so that everyone, particularly the leaders, are grounded in what matters most. When we operate within a set of defined ideals, we are positioned to take risks, working faster and harder within our organizational community. Communicating ideals, just like FDR did in 1941, creates an incredible force that binds a tribe together so that they can rally together and progress faster as a group.

Tribal Trap #3: A Dangerous Leadership Flaw

Leaders can often get trapped by thinking that logic and reason should guide the work. In doing so, we can be convinced that the most coherent path is the most rational and therefore sensible way to go. But that’s not true when it comes to what guides people, especially groups of people who have a specific task to complete. This is where ideals are most critical because they bring decisions into focus. Next time you begin to respond to a problem with analysis and reason, stop to check that core values are guiding your thinking: Is this the logical next step, or is it the next best step based on our values?

Conclusion: Tribal Forces Trifecta

When people are connected through their passion for a particular topic of interest, through a social connection where they can relate to one another, and through a common set of ideals, they create an organizational environment that is forecasted to consistently win. A movement occurs when an idea spreads. People don’t follow when they don’t feel connected. And, no one can move forward when the guideposts aren’t clear on the road ahead. The challenge is that leaders need to protect themselves from being isolated, from thinking that expertise alone is enough, or from making decisions with reason only. The good news is that leadership is skill that can be practiced and sharpened, which is best done by relying on the tribe. Those of us who desire to lead better and grow faster can do so by deliberately practicing within our organizations, focusing on our strengths, reflecting on our capacity, and developing a tribe around us.

Let us know what you think of this #SH302 post with a like, a follow, or a comment. Find us on Twitter, YouTube, iTunes, Facebook, & SoundCould. And if you want one simple model for leading better and growing faster per month, follow this blog by entering your email at the top right of the screen.

TheSchoolHouse302 is about getting to simple by maximizing effective research-based strategies that empower individuals to lead better and grow faster.

Joe & T.J.

References and Resources

Comaford, C. (2013). SmartTribes: How team become brilliant together. New York: Penguin.

Godin, S. (2008). Tribes: We need you to lead us. New York: Penguin.

Hardy, B. (2018). Willpower doesn’t work: Discover the hidden keys to success. New York: Hachette Books.

Hardy, B. (n.d.). This 75-year Harvard study shows how to have a lifetime of joy. Thrive Global.

“Sebastian Junger: ‘Tribe: On Homecoming and Belonging’ | Talks at Google.” YouTube, YouTube, 10 Nov. 2017, www.youtube.com/watch?v=kHosF5Wzyd4.

Sivers, D. (2010, February 02). First Follower: Leadership Lessons from a Dancing Guy. Retrieved December 26, 2018, from https://sivers.org/ff

Goleman, D. (1996). What Makes a Leader? Reprinted in The essentials. (2011). Boston, MA: Harvard Business Review Press.


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