Tuesday, March 24, 2009

TEDx USC: Dave Logan and Tribal Leadership

Dave Logan, Associate Dean and Executive Director of Executive Development at University of Southern California's (USC) Marshall Business School, gave an excellent talk about tribes, based on his recent book, Tribal Leadership: Leveraging Natural Groups to Build a Thriving Organization.

According to Logan, tribes are small groups (10-100 people) of people that form naturally. They tend not to be the same from each other and that difference is called "culture." A crowd or a business will likely contain many tribes. Tribes can be classified by one of 5 stages and each tribe can only hear one level below and above its own level. The stages are:
  1. "Life sucks" (ex. gangs)
  2. "My Life sucks" or "How can people so dumb live?" (ex. the DMV)
  3. "I am great (and you're not)"
    (ex. lawyers or doctors meeting in an elevator, conferences)

  4. "We're great!"
  5. (ex. a company like Zappo.com)
  6. "Life is great!"
  7. (ex. any tribe with positive members that has a positive impact on people)
According to research, only 2% of tribes are stage 5, with most hovering in stage 2, 3 and 4. Mr. Logan encouraged us to "nudge our tribes" towards the next level, and to start doing triadic networking, that is, introduce two people you don't know to each other (in effect, bridging tribes together).

Ultimately the point of the book is to dispel the myth and mindset that only Dog eat Dog cutthroat companies survive and grow big. In fact, cultures based on back-stabbing and fear and "cover your ass" (as so prominent in FX and game companies in my experience) are doomed to stagnate or die. Not surprisingly, Mr. Logan encountered hostility when speaking about his book on FOX News:



A lot of TEDxers enjoyed this talk a lot, citing it as one of the highlights.

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posted by Brian at 2:52 PM

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