I know. Most probably you will refuse it. Seth Godin was right when he categorized most of us as sheepwalkers. A crowd with fear mentality of being wrong or of making mistakes by trying new things. The world is crying out for leaders at every level, but there are far too few people who are willing to take upon themselves the role of leadership. Why? Because there is an exaggerated fear of failure which inhibits people from taking the risk of acting differently from the crowd.
Some of you may have the passion to get out of the crowd. If you’re interested in leadership in today’s fast-changing, interconnected world, you may read Seth Godin’s “Tribes”. Many of Godin’s ideas are responses to the new communication technologies, most notably the Internet. However, it is worth mentioning that right at the beginning of Tribes he emphasizes that,
“You don’t need a keyboard to lead… you only need the desire to make something happen!” – p. 6.
If you have that desire, the passion to create something that is ultimately bigger than yourself, then Godin encourages you to use the Internet to communicate that passion to others.
There is rather a lot of talk about faith and belief (faith is good, dogma is bad), religion and heretics. According to Godin we need more heretics to step out of the pack and act as leaders. The chief of heretics, Martin Luther, is given a cameo part somewhere in the middle of the book.
Heretics are heroes not only because they are prepared to stand up and stand out, but also because, “Stability is an illusion”, (p. 16) and “Today’s market place rewards heretics” (p. 11).
As the pace of technological change increases, the consequent “rush from stability” (p. 17) combines with the new technologies of communication to present everybody with opportunities for leadership.
The book does not have a tight structure but is rather a loose collection of anecdotes around the themes of creating and leading “tribes” in a world of new technology. A tribe is a group that shares strongly held beliefs or aims and either forms around a leader or is waiting for a leader to pull it together.
Pulling together of a tribe, tightening its bonds, is seen as being more important than enlarging its bounds.
In one of the examples of leadership that Godin works into the book, he discusses an actual “leap of faith” that was made by the rock climber, Chris Scharma. Sharma discovered that he could climb where no man had climbed before by “letting go” and jumping upwards from cliff faces that jut out over the sea. He has fallen into the sea numerous times, but he has also climbed “impossible” climbs.
It is that willingness to fail and to lead people further than they have every gone before that Godin sees as being the true essence of tribal leadership.
A tribe can be very small and local or it can span the world and come together via the Internet. There is probably a tribe out there waiting for you to lead it. If you think that you lack the charisma to lead a tribe, consider this:
“Being charismatic doesn’t make you a leader. Being a leader makes you charismatic. (p. 127)