Crowd or Tribe, To Which Do You Belong?

This comparison comes from Seth Godin’s book “Tribes”; and it prompted an idea that illustrates the value of an individual driving us towards a vision.

A crowd and a tribe are both a conglomeration of individuals. The only difference is the existence of a “leader” focusing the energy of the group on an idea and facilitates connectivity. In this case, I define leader as anyone that paints the picture for a better future and is willing to make it a reality.

Today I share one of the ways I tested this concept last year.

As part of a group of individuals tasked with creating a proposal for a product showcase event, I purposely changed my role within the group between vision-driver and passive participant.

My observations:

  • When there’s a person driving a vision:
    • All energy focuses on one event at a time.
    • Problem solving revolves around a major goal.
    • Action items and tasks get assigned faster.
    • Progress speeds up.
  • In contrast, when there’s no clear “leader”:
    • Attention spans are short.
    • We jump from topic to topic at random points in the conversation.
    • We problem solve many barriers with many different goals.
    • No action items or tasks are assigned or finished.
    • Progress slows down.

What was most interesting about this exercise was the smooth transition from one environment to the other. As soon as one person described a clear picture of an idea, the rest of the group quickly decided if they would agree, disagree or improve it. It was easy to get everyone to move in the same direction.

To which environment do you belong? Are you in a team that moves together or a collection of individuals under one roof? What differences do you see?

 

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