Often when I am in need of inspiration I head over to TED to see what interesting things I can learn about the world today.

Recently, on one such visit I came across a video by Seth Godin called The Tribes We Lead.  It was a fresh look back on change, leadership and networking that I thought would make for an excellent discussion here on the blog.

Seth Godin

The History of Making Changes

Seth Godin starts by giving a brief history of how changes were brought to pass starting from the industrial age to modern times.

The Factories

Henry Ford was an innovator for change at his time.  He took men who were paid 5o cents a day and put them in his factories where he could pay them 5 dollars a day.  They were able to make a ton of cars, which led to loads of roads, and then hundreds of other factories which could also produce more change.

However, since this model simply consisted of labor and machines, the only way to scale it was to find cheaper labor and faster machines.  Both of which we are running out of today.

TV Advertising

So we eventually move into advertising.  Take a good idea and push it out to as many people as you can.  Take the money you earn from profits and invest it into pushing out more advertising.  Money was what drove this model.

It used to be that if you spammed out your products, candidates, or services often and wide enough you could cause a great amount of change.

But unfortunately, advertising isn’t working as great today.  The problem with this model was it made the advertisers the King, while all of us peons were subject to listening and viewing their message whether we liked it or not.

Everything came from the top down.  No discussions or way to tell the advertisers we were not interested.

Tribes

So if factories and advertising are models of the past, what is causing change today?  Seth Godin calls it Tribes.

We are actually going back to our most primitive nature of influencing others by connecting people with ideas through leadership.

We already have spiritual tribes, work tribes, and community tribes, but now with the internet and social tools, we can see countless other tribes.

There’s the sports tribes who participate in fantasy leagues and comment on the latest games.  There are the cos-players who dress up as fantasy characters as they attend conventions.  There’s Russian folk dancer tribes that perform exotic works of art.

Basically, no matter how niche your hobby or talent, you can now find a tribe for it.

Why Tribes?

The difference between Tribes and the Factory or Advertiser models before them is that Tribes formed because we wanted to be a part of them.

Ideas spread inside the tribe organically instead of being forced.  The internet encourages Tribes to grow and does so cheaply.  You didn’t have to have faster machines, cheaper labor, or money to influence change.  Just a computer and internet connection.

Are You a Chief?

Many of us are chiefs of a tribe as well.  Maybe you have your own blog.  Maybe you manage a team.  Maybe you run a club.

Seth Godin gave three questions to ask yourself.

1.  Who Are You Upsetting?

Why would you want to upset anyone?  You would if you wanted to change the status-qua.  Martin Luther King Jr, George Washington, and Abraham Lincoln all upset thousands of people.  Was the change worth it?  I think so.

2.  Who Are You Connecting?

This is important because many times people are involved with making a difference because of the people they are connecting with.  Whether they can change the world or not, they want to come away having made connections with other people who also wanted the same changes.

3.  Who Are You Leading?

Many times we can get caught in the mechanics of making a difference that we forget who it is we are actually leading.

People are what really matter.  The process for how the change will occur happens after you’ve built your leadership around your followers.

How Can We Be Better Chiefs?

Everyone of us is a chief in one way or another, even if it’s chief of our family.

I think the lesson I learned from this is to allow communication from all members of the tribe.  Encourage ideas and innovation within the tribe.  Give each individual power to make a difference.

I think of each of you as part of our Balanced WorkLife Tribe.  We want to help each other grow in our professions and enjoy the journey along the way.

That’s why I encourage guest posts, comments, and connecting.  What I post here is a small portion of the value the rest of the tribe brings.

Do you see tribes as the new way of causing change?  What makes a good chief in your eyes?

image courtesy of joi and nkakouros

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47 thoughts on “The Art of Creating Change (According to The Smartest Bald Guy I Know)

  1. From my experience and learning I believe that any one who does not dictate is on the right track to becoming a good leader. Seth is an awesome guy. His books are so inspiring. You have done a wonderful job sharing your views on the topic. Thanks.

  2. Wow.. Those three questions at the end give me a lot to think about. I haven’t ever really gone out of my way to upset anyone (mostly), and I’m working oh who I’m connecting with.

    I like this idea of tribes being the new model to connect and influence people. I can see it in action in a lot of what I do.

    Thanks for this great post!

  3. Awesome post Bryce. It’s interesting that you wrote this post right around when I found Triberr.

    I really like the idea of tribes. As you said, were all voluntary participants in it. And we can all share ideas, at least if we have a good chief that is!

    Looking at my blog from the perspective of a tribe could be pretty useful. I’ll have to give it a shot.

  4. Thought provoking questions.

    I try to not to provocative as a leader, but still have found that try as I might, it is usually unavoidable.

    Who am I connecting? Well, I need to work on that!

    I hope that I am leading each of my children to be a better person than I am.

    A good leader is not someone who just bosses everyone around. A good leader is able to stir people up and then lead them by example.

  5. Seth Godin is a magical, wonderful , brilliant, inspiring, caring, giving, sharing man.

    I LOVE him, even tho he has no idea of my existence. But that’s okay. Good things come from many sources, and are passed on to others for the betterment of mankind.

    So true that “people really matter.” That’s why he’s so great!

  6. Vic

    Hey Bryce,

    I have been reading blogs all day and this has been one of the more memorable posts.

    Who are we upsetting is a good question to ask. I remember hearing someone say “if you don’t have any haters you’d better go find some because you’re not making a difference”

    Making connections and leading is also important. If you want to become someone, then you need to help someone.

    All the best!

  7. Bryce Christiansen

    Thanks Eddie,

    I like that. Open communication is always a great characteristic of a true chief.

    Your liking for Seth is one more thing we have in common.

    Keep up the great work on your site.

    Bryce

  8. Bryce Christiansen

    Hi Grady,

    Thanks for your comments. I thought the question about upsetting others was a tough one as well. I don’t think any of us set out to upset others, but I can see his point.

    I know our ebook upset some people who didn’t like the fact that we point out playing Solitaire on your phone or watching tv all night as unproductive. I know, pretty groundbreaking revelation ;)

    Good to see you again,

    Bryce

  9. Bryce Christiansen

    Hey Fred,

    That’s awesome you got on Triberr. It’s been a very helpful tool for me as well. At some point I’ll plan to write a post on it. Still trying to find out the best way to apply it to this blog and get in Tribes with the commenters.

    I thought of the blog as well while reading this. Great minds think alike.

    Thanks for the comment,

    Bryce

  10. Bryce Christiansen

    Great inputs Tisa. I took some thinking time as well after reading through the questions.

    The connecting point was really interesting to me. I’ve had a few really special connections as a result of this blog. Mostly for my wife however. Still it was really rewarding to be able to help connect people.

    As for you thought on leaders, I couldn’t agree more.

    Thanks,

    Bryce

  11. Bryce Christiansen

    Thanks Jannie,

    I’m so glad you stopped by. Seth is a wonderful guy and it makes me happy you are a fan as well.

    People are the glue that binds us.

    Good to have your visit. I’ll be by soon.

    Bryce

  12. Bryce Christiansen

    Thanks VIc,

    I know how that goes. I really appreciate you comments about my blog. I try my best to please :)

    I especially love your comment about upsetting people. Here’s to having haters!

    Bryce

  13. I agree, TED is a source of great inspirational articles and videos which also makes them a very suitable topic for any blog. Nicely written.

  14. Another great and insightful post, Bryce.

    I haven’t heard about Seth Godin, but his principle was something I’ve heard in one of the seminars I attended back in college. Factory mindset is all about just getting the job done without much regard to the others. Having a tribal mindset is going to definitely make a lot of difference because you have this feeling of responsibility for those under you. At the same time, try to work amicably with those within your level.

  15. Great post! I do think tribes are influential and a new way for enacting change. I think a good chief is someone that doesn’t seek to lead everyone. Instead, he or she knows what select group of people will be ideal followers, and does his/her best to to effectively help just those people.

  16. Hi Bryce,

    Seth’s questions are very much inspiring and surely make sense when you ask yourself. TED! Always fascinates and very intuitive.

    Thanks for sharing the thought provoking post Bryce.

  17. Bryce Christiansen

    Thanks Praveen,

    Isn’t TED great? It’s my inspiration resource. So many wonderful things to learn on TED.

    Do you have a favorite, I’m always looking for new things.

    Bryce

  18. Bryce Christiansen

    I love it Adeline,

    What you said about having responsibility for those under you is so true. I feel that way about the people that read this blog, the community that responds to us on Twitter and Facebook.

    The last thing I want to do is disappoint so I do my best to keep the Tribe happy and moving forward.

    I appreciate the comments you leave. Very inspired.

    Bryce

  19. Bryce Christiansen

    Great point Jeffrey,

    Leaders naturally draw followers and their followers go out to find more followers. When we have a good thing, we naturally want to share it with others. Why not have the same thoughts about leaders?

    Always good to have you,

    Bryce

  20. Bryce Christiansen

    Yeah, it’s hard to come up with questions like those as well. They really make you think and evaluate your plans and ideas.

    Thanks for stopping by Manickam.

    Bryce

  21. Hi Bryce,

    This is a very unique way to look at leadership. If you look at the ancient tribes, many of these are very self contained initially. The key for these tribes is they truly belong to their cause and they trust their leader absolutely. This tight unit allow them to gain gain respect from many other tribe and subsequently they could extend their reach.

    When I think of this I looked at the mongols in the 12th and 13th centuries when they ruled 3/4 of the world. I feel that this model is applying itself in the modern world as well. People are tribing online and gaining strengths for their good causes. If anything, the revolutions happening across the globe is the calm before the storm. Many more good will emerge and people will truly be able to fulfill their true potential.

    Cheers

  22. Hey Bryce,
    I have to agree that tribes are the new way of getting potential buyers to products and services.

    Advertising is loud and in your face as tribes are more influential by nature of association.

    I can’t even remember the last thing that I bought because of an add but I would buy something from a friend that I respect as an authority in some area.

  23. Byrce,

    I love the words of that bald guy too! He really knows what he is talking about!

    You (and he) make a good point with the “upsetting” part. Sometimes I think I am still too cautious about upsetting people in my online work. I avoid being infammatory becuase I do not want to piss people off.

    While doing that for it’s own sake is rude, there is nothing wrong with having a strong opinion about things and expressing them. It really can be the dividing line between being a leader or a follower.

  24. Hi Bryce,

    Excellent post. Tribes are a good way to connect and gain camaraderie. I don’t know that I’m upsetting anyone at this moment, but I can see the value when you take a stand that isn’t popular with some. Who am I leading and connecting with are two great questions, which I may need to work with in regards to my website. I have led my children and connected with many, and just asking these questions gives me some new ideas to consider.

  25. Dia

    Hi Bryce,

    I have to agree, no matter what a person does, someone is not going to like it. This applies to all leaders and all people in general. “Who are you upsetting” is a good question, but I must say I never asked myself that question. People who have a message to say have to have an opinion even if someone doesn’t like it. Seth Godin is a good you have picked. ;) Thanks for sharing Bryce

  26. Bryce, thanks for sharing, I really enjoyed your post. I agree that the internet is the most scalable way to project an idea. The challenge is that the barriers to entry are very low and almost anyone can get in the game. I agree that you have to upset, connect, and lead in order to stand out in the crowd and make a difference.

    I actually haven’t heard of TED before your post, I’m going to check it out.

    I like what you’re doing here. Great post.

    -Scott

  27. Great post here! I personally love Seth Godin and what he’s been up to. Such an influential person and a leader people look up to. Definitely important to position ourselves as the leader everyone else is looking for in this world.

    I think tribes are good. Our goal basically is to grow our tribe and make it as big as possible. With a tribe, we can position ourselves as a leader. People will follow us and the word of our tribes will spread.

    Thanks for sharing this post and for the amazing insights! :D

  28. Great post Bryce. I feel that if you are not upsetting anyone you are a follower. You don’t say what you really think, for fear of upsetting someone. You are losing who you really are.

    Good leaders on the other hand, are true to themselves. If they disagree they have the courage to say it. However if they are not sure they have the brains to listen to others to see if there is a better idea.

    Like Henry Ford, he wanted to build the automobile, but knew he couldn’t do it by himself, so he reached out to others that could help him.

    Tribes are like that we no right from wrong and don’t have a problem admitting if we are wrong, but we also now how to stand firm if we are right.

    Keep up the great work and blessing to you always,
    Debbie

  29. Bryce Christiansen

    Thanks a ton for this Jimmy.

    I can see why the Mongols were so successful for their time. Tribes can be a powerful leadership platform, both in history and today.

    Internet has really changed the way we communicate, meet up, and share ideas. I feel that it has leveled the playing field for leaders. If you want to make a change, we are running out of excuses not to.

    Do you agree?

    Bryce

  30. Bryce Christiansen

    Appreciate the comment Justin.

    It’s like the saying goes, “We don’t buy from people we don’t like.”

    Having those relationships makes it easier to know and feel confident that what they are sharing with us will help us.

    Bryce

  31. Bryce Christiansen

    Good to see you Steve,

    The upsetting rule is a tough line, that’s for sure. I agree, I don’t think the point is to just start kicking people and being a jerk so you can offend people.

    To change for good, we have to give up bad habits, negative behavior, and other actions we’ve become accustomed to. Not everyone is going to like it when their told to stop being lazy, unproductive, think outside the box, whatever it is we are trying to do.

    Really good thoughts.

    Bryce

  32. Bryce Christiansen

    Hi Cathy,

    I appreciate the comment. I can see some in denial druggies or abusers being upset by your work. The functional abusers might possibly read your work and say, “I don’t need help, I can drink/do drugs and still be effective at work.”

    Keep up the good work,

    Bryce

  33. Bryce Christiansen

    Thanks Dia,

    I always appreciate your comments and the fascinating things you have to say.

    Hope you had a good weekend.

    Bryce

  34. Bryce Christiansen

    Oh Scott,

    You are missing out. TED is a great resource. There are hundreds of fascinating videos and talks on there.

    Being a crowd shaker is definitely a challenge with so many of us seeking an audience.

    It takes remarkable leadership these days to stand out.

    You’re doing a good job, keep it up.

    Bryce

  35. Bryce Christiansen

    Thanks PJ.

    Welcome to the blog. I always am excited to see new faces :)

    Props to you for enjoying Seth Godin’s work as well. I’m with you. It’s a great thing to lead a Tribe. Whether it’s a model making Tribe or a network of plumbers from San Francisco, we can do incredible things and bring an amazing amount of value to our peers.

    Thanks for the comment, hope to see you again in the future.

    Bryce

  36. Bryce Christiansen

    Hi Debbie,

    So glad you commented. From reading your blog over the last couple of weeks I can tell you live what Seth is talking about. You lead others, you upset some people, and you definitely are connecting.

    Keep up the good work,

    Bryce

  37. Thank you Bryce. I will give it my best shot.
    Blessing to you,
    Debbie

  38. Hey Bryce,

    I am a big fan of Seth Godin. I have read one book of his “The lynchpin”. It is very nicely written.
    I like his “lizard brain ” concept as well.
    I think we build tribes when we develop trust and inspire confidence. Building a large tribe with constructive thoughts is not easy and takes a lot of time but when it happens, there is nothing like such a tribe. I think Seth has a huge tribe as well.
    I have managed to upset quite a few people in my life and I have got bricks for that :) but I think in the end they have understood what I was trying to say and most of the time agreed to it.
    Using the blog , of course we can develop connections if we share what others are saying and soon we can start getting a tribe of ourselves.
    Fantastic post. I enjoyed reading it

  39. Bryce Christiansen

    I haven’t read that one. What’s “The Lynchpin” about? I’d love to check it out.

    You’ve got me curious about lizard brain as well. I’m with you. If you don’t upset SOMEBODY, you aren’t making a difference. Having a blog and an audience that reads your work is a major responsibility. Who knows what people will do with the advice you lend them. It’s quite possible you can have major impacts on lives without ever knowing it.

    Thanks once again for the excellent comment.

    Bryce

  40. hey Bryce,
    Sorry, its called as The linchpin not lynchpin :). Apologies .

    It is an excellent book about self development. He talks about how what worked yesterday will not work today, thinking out of the box and many other things. A really nice book.

    When I write my blog, I often feel that there is nothing great about it and a lot of people who already know about things I say. But then time and again I get the comment “I did not know that” . That means that there is a lot to share and people love to hear the stuff we say if it is good.That is what keeps me going .
    So I agree 100% with you there :)
    Thanks and have a great day

  41. Wow! What an innovative way to consider how change happens most effectively. I definitely feel like I’ve been bombarded by ads and that I’ve learned to ignore most of them. I can see how this can lead to the importance of tribes all over again, which should be the essence of businesses: real connections.

    I had never considered myself as a “chief,” but we all have a certain influence on others, even if it’s just our immediate family members. This knowledge will make me more conscious about the messages that I share.

    Thank you so much for including me in your BWL tribe. =) What I especially love about the community you’ve built is that everyone here truly cares and shares. =)

  42. Bryce Christiansen

    Thanks for filling me in. It’s good to have friends who can point me to books and articles I should be on top of.

    You are right about blogging. Alot of times we are so ingrained in our specialties that we feel it must be common knowledge to everyone else. It feels good when someone says they learned something from you.

    Thanks again,

    Bryce

  43. Bryce Christiansen

    Thanks Samantha,

    Don’t kid yourself. You are definitely a “chief” and have tremendous impact on people. Only a small percentage of our readers ever comment, but that doesn’t mean people all over the world end up doing amazing things with our advice.

    You are a key member of our tribe and it really does feel that way. Everyone here feels comfortable sharing their opinions, even if we differ sometimes.

    Thanks,

    Bryce

  44. Bryce,

    Wow, what an insightful post.

    I can see how advertising has given way to tribes. I am not sure tribes is a new idea but an idea that really does work. It is the fall back method after other methods work temporarily.

    The idea of congregating in groups to help or influence other people is an old stand by.

    I really like how there is community on the internet among bloggers and internet marketers. We are all here to help each other with the same goal. To me that is how it should be.

    Great post.

    Dee Ann Rice

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