January 24, 2012

My Favorite Tribe

Seth Godin says “we are in a key moment in time on how ideas are created, spread and implemented.” He contends, “Tribes are what matter.”

What is a tribe?  A tribe a group of between 20 and 150 people in which you either know everyone or you know of everyone in that group. In a talk for TED 2009, Seth Godin explains that leaders of tribes regularly do the following things:


I hope you get you curious enough on tribes to view Seth Godin’s full Ted talk.

I am part of many tribes; I’m part of a work tribe; I work at the ONE80CENTER; I’m part of religious tribe—I’m Jewish, which I view more as a cultural identity than a religious one; I’m part of a tribe of social entrepreneurs, which helps focus my business interests on improving the way we prevent and treat addictive disorders; and I’m part of a tribe of recovering individuals who participate in one or more Twelve Step communities.    

I belong to a Twelve Step tribe originally led by Bill W and Dr. Bob, which has more than 200 different fellowships worldwide and membership in the millions. I believe Seth Godin would define Bill W and Dr. Bob as tribe leaders who:

  • Challenged the status quo;
  • Created a culture around their goal and involved others in this culture;
  • Demonstrated an extraordinary amount of curiosity about the world they changed;
  • Used their charisma in a variety of forms to attract and motivate followers;
  • Communicated their vision of the future;
  • Committed to a vision and made decisions based on their commitment;
  • Connected their followers to one another.

I would recommend Seth Godin study the traditions of our Twelve Step fellowship, which provides an outline to building a successful tribe. The Twelve Traditions provide the architectural blueprints of building and maintaining successful tribes.   

Here are some key components in our Traditions that I believe can be applied to building successful tribes:

  • Our tribe’s common welfare comes first;
  • Our tribe’s authority comes from our group conscience;
  • Our tribe’s leaders are trusted servants;
  • Each tribe should remain autonomous;
  • Each tribe has one primary purpose;
  • Each tribe should never endorse, finance or lend the tribe’s name to any other tribe;
  • Each tribe should be fully self supporting;
  • Each tribe may employ special workers;
  • Each tribe may create service boards or committees directly responsible to the tribe;
  • Our tribe has no opinion on outside issues;
  • Our tribe’s public relations policy is based on attraction rather than promotion;
  • Our tribe places principles before personalities.

 Thank you Bill W and Dr. Bob for creating architecture for one of my favorite tribes!



Comments are closed here.

Starbucks K-Cups