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  • Karen Boylston recommends

ARTICLE: Leveraging the Nature of Business Tribes

Updated: May 1, 2020


As humans, we are conditioned to seek affiliation through families and tribes, together establishing rules to create safety, belonging, and even accomplishing something meaningful. In business, our tribes are linked by a leader, a shared purpose or goal, a common culture, or an organizational boundary.

Belonging to a business tribe awakens our collaborative instincts, where we can identify key competitors and work collectively to defeat them. We must also recognize that tribal affiliation can result in a protectiveness, which together with competitiveness, can override individual moral integrity—forming functional or organizational silos and halting collaboration.

Businesses can either become victims of this tribal force, OR they can choose to leverage tribal instinct for maximum business performance. A recently posted Chief Learning Officer article discusses how to accomplish leveraging tribal forces for maximum performance by finding mature, self-aware, and ego-free leaders who are deliberate in the application of organizational systems and practice a posture of service to a greater altruistic cause. A servant-leader mindset around human relations and navigating different worldviews and belief systems that people inside the organization hold, and that avoids an ego-driven attachment to functional expertise and authority, can combat the potential silo pitfall of business tribes. Leaders and organizations must be structured to develop their people, building the kind of community that becomes the ultimate testament to business success.

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