A determined person is usually also a successful individual. Groups of determined people are usually groups of successful individuals. To create a successful ‘team’ of people, you need something extra. You need a tribal element, that pulls the people together and unleashes a collective power that’s greater than any band of individuals can muster. You need a Super-tribe vibe.
Super-tribes are the top of the organisational development tree. Powered by a collective purpose and will to win, they’re far more than an individual, or non-tribal team can ever be. They provide the highest performance potential because they are the most motivated, focused and aligned of teams. They have a tribal vibe about them. Super-tribes are organisations on a mission.
The motivation sensation
We all feel compelled to work pretty hard. Hard enough to keep our jobs safe at least. But what motivates us beyond that? Money can only motivate us so far; and it only inspires us when we link it to something meaningful, something else that really matters to us. What we really need is to feel part of something bigger than us, that’s more fulfilling, more rewarding and more tribal. We want to feel inspired and driven to action, rather than plodding along every day, disinterested or disengaged.
Money is the basic form of workplace currency. Being paid fairly, is the minimum hope and expectation. But it’s just the minimum. And if that minimum isn’t being met there are major problems. Not being fairly paid is always demotivating. No one wants to feel underpaid. Underpaid feels like undervalued and undervalued people don’t do their best work.
Money can’t buy limitless motivation. Being paid more than we’re worth will only persuade us to give ‘some’ more effort. We won’t give everything we can, unless we’re ‘all in’. To give our discretionary effort and maximise our focus, we need higher forms of workplace currency than money. We need thank you’s, praise for good work and access to career opportunities. But they too have limited effects, as they all relate to us as individuals. Unless we truly care about our team or organisation, we won’t go ‘all in’.
How much do you care? Have you gone ‘all in’ yet? If not, why not? What’s missing for you? Is that same thing missing for all your colleagues too?
Above all the other currencies, sits the highest form of driver. And that driver is belonging. It’s feeling part of something inclusive, something optimistic, something you care passionately about. That’s the stage when we feel emotionally compelled to act, through a combination of faith (in ourselves and the people around us), hope (in the vision we’ve imagined and change we can create) and love (for our tribe and our purpose). They’re the vibes that make us feel alive. We want to feel joyful about what we do. And that includes when we’re working. We shouldn’t have to switch ourselves off at work.
We need a mission or quest that we can go on. A purpose that we can feel excited and proud to be a part of. For an organisation to get that effort and commitment from us, it needs to make us feel part of something inspirational. And that’s the tribal truth. We need to part of something bigger, that stirs our soul.
And we react to that kind of pull on our heartstrings. We work harder and longer when our hopes and dreams are shared with others. We take on bigger challenges when we tackle them together. And we stay the course, when that course leads to the vision we all wanted. We will happily help our colleagues, whenever they need help, when that means shared rewards for everyone. We get stronger vibes when we’re part of stronger tribes.
And that’s not all. We enjoy our work more when we smile and laugh with colleagues. We try our very best if our environment supports us when we fail (because we can’t do more than our best). We grow and develop in an environment that teaches us how to do everything better next time. We get stronger vibes when we’re part of Super-tribes.
What’s your mission?
Every organisation needs an inclusive and motivating mission. Have you tested yours?
What’s your organisation’s mission?
Does everyone know what your mission is? Does anyone know what it is?
Is it motivating? Does it compel everyone to act? Does it compel anyone to act?
Has everyone signed up for the same vision of the future? Or is it a hidden secret?
Without shared dreams, you won’t get sharing teams.
What are the inclusive and rewarding outcomes you’ve all agreed to share?
Or aren’t there meaningful rewards for everyone?
Without shared outcomes, you won’t get shared inputs. And without shared inputs, you won’t get anywhere very fast (if you get there at all).
What does your organisation stand for?
Super-tribes aren’t born, they’re made. They are built from the inside and the outside. On the inside, they are created (or re-built) using the 20 elements of modern tribes. Those elements include a tribal purpose, heritage, structure, rules, language, brand, symbols and ceremonies. Super-tribes understand what’s fundamental to their success and they endorse, embed and celebrate their fundamentals in everything they do.
Super-tribes stand up for what keeps them standing. Choices always have to be made. Blind indifference to the world outside doesn’t do it for anyone. And bland deference to leadership doesn’t mean anyone’s really with you. Are you just getting the basic effort that money inspires? Or are you all on a mission?
Super-tribe members actively go along willingly. They choose to go on your mission, for your organisation. But they won’t fully commit until their organisation fully commits. And that’s not unreasonable. So if your organisation really stands for something, you have take a stand on it. That also means taking a stand against the opposite too. So if you want to promote sustainability, you need to take a powerful stand against inefficiency and waste. Or, if you want to really promote equality, you have to start at the top table. If your tribe isn’t properly defined, then its membership will decline.
Super-tribes live their essence and follow their nature. They are true to themselves. Profit is the by-product, not the reason for existence. Super-tribes are formed when one or more separate tribes come together for a mutual purpose and mutual benefit. It has to start with mutual purpose and end with mutual benefits for every stakeholder. And there is so much more in between. Without harnessing all the 20 elements of a modern tribe, a team or group won’t have the core strength to make it to tribal status; and it certainly won’t be capable of becoming a Super-tribe.
Who do you stand with?
Tribal power is strong, but Super-tribal power is stronger still. To become a Super-tribe, a tribe needs to be built on the outside as well as the inside. What does that mean? Super-tribes successfully enter into strategic partnerships, alliances and collaborations with other similar-thinking tribes. Shared agendas can produce greater knowledge and understanding, wider and deeper skills; and more resources to deliver them. When two tribes go to more, they can form Super-tribes.
By finding out which other organisations share your tribe’s hopes, dreams and goals you can work out who would be a good potential partner. If you share the same vibe, you can start a Super-tribe.
Check for a goals gap!
Thinking ‘Super-tribe first’ is the only way to approach this building process. That’s about starting where you want to finish. Individualistic thinking gets independent activity. Super-tribe thinking gets inter-dependent activity. The difference is colossal. Start with the vision of the future you want your people to see. Your organisation’s mission should be to deliver that vision. It’s strategy should be how it gets itself there. Have you nailed all three?
That process can’t be done in a vacuum. You need to get buy-in to the mission. And the best way to achieve that is to check there isn’t a goals gap between your organisation and your people. When personal and business goals clash, the business goals are the ones that get lost. Finding a genuinely shared vision, with genuinely shared goals, is absolutely essential. Super-tribes take everyone with them, because everyone wants to come along. They make everyone in them feel part of something special, something meaningful, something super-tribal.
Try and create that Super-tribe vibe!