I have a pile of business books that I have been meaning to read, and I am now determined to finish them by the end of the year. I had a great excuse last week when my power went out. I ran my laptop until the battery died. When it did, I decided not to relocate to a place where I could power up and sat down to read instead.

Seth Godin Tribes book review

I started with Seth Godin’s Tribes. It is a collection, I believe, of blog posts on leadership. If you are an entrepreneur, or if you work for a company and have the desire to champion a cause, this book will help ignite that fire.  A few key takeaways for me were:

1.     The definitions of a tribe and its dynamics.  “A tribe is a group of people, connected to one another, connected to a leader and connected to an idea. A group needs only two things to be a tribe: a shared interest and a way to communicate. Tribes need leadership. Sometimes one person leads, sometimes more.  You can’t have a tribe without a leader–and you can’t be a leader without a tribe.”

2.     A tribe is formed when someone sees a group that is asking to be led. For example, “Fox News didn’t persuade millions of people to become conservative; they just assembled the tribe and led them where they were already headed.” Capitalize on a non-obvious moment/opportunity; get there first.

3.     A manager is not a leader. A manager operates within the status quo of the “factory.” The leader sees an opportunity to do things differently (and better) and sees a group that is willing to move toward that change. The leader doesn’t wait to be asked to lead, he or she just does it.

4.     The internet provides unprecedented opportunities for leaders and tribes to connect. One person with a YouTube.com account can impact the world in 24 hours with the right video. The power quotient has shifted.  Just look at the power of blogging, anyone can broadcast their thoughts or ideas and lead or form a tribe.

5.     Necessary ingredients for a tribe leader. Genuine passion and charisma – if you don’t have that, people will see through you and a tribe won’t follow. Authentic generosity – a true leader doesn’t need credit for his or her ideas, he or she is happy for them to be spread. The ability to use criticism to improve, curiosity, heresy (vs status quo), faith, remarkability, fearlessness, leadership/empowerment, passion and reinvention.

6.     Recipe for starting a micromovement: a manifesto, connectablity and tracking progress.  Making money can’t be the ultimate goal of the micromovement, that will guarantee its failure.

7.     Persuasion: don’t start with opposition, seek the uncommitted passionates.

8.     Elements of leadership: challenge status quo, create culture, be charismatic, communicate vision, connect.

9.     Do not get stuck in the way things were or are, get busy turning things into what they could be.

10.  Change isn’t made by asking permission. Change is made by asking for forgiveness later.

11.  True leaders understand that change is not only omnipresent, but the key to success.

12.  Great leaders listen to tribe members. However, truly great leaders can listen to the other opinion, still do what they had intended and retain loyal tribe followers.  He used Ronald Regan as an example of a leader with this quality.

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