Frequently Asked Questions

Tribal Leadership - FAQ

How successful are the Tribal Leadership-based strategies that come out of the new culture compared to the strategy models currently taught in business school?

Drucker famously said, “Culture eats strategy for breakfast.” B-school strategies are mostly derived from HBS and Michael Porter - a brilliant man. However, according to Peter Drucker, at best, the Porter model is successful 30% of the time on average. That is because the strategy is ‘imposed’ on the employee and the employee has little or no input. Therefore, the person who best knows the job and is actually doing it is told what to do and how to do it. Predictably, the employee often resists and is resentful. The strategy model we teach in Tribal Leadership is between 70-80% successful. This is largely because we teach the employee to design their own strategy, quarter by quarter. They are ‘bought in’ by definition from the beginning of the process and appreciate that their input is honored. Furthermore, the strategy model we teach is simpler, self-managing, and self-correcting. In essence, a more elegant design. And it allows leadership and managers to take advantage of and capitalize on the inherent understanding of customer data and other critical aspects of having an organization perform at a high level and make its clients and market happy.

Are management techniques and operational efficiencies not important?

Not at all. Management and Leadership are in and of two different domains. Management is about efficiency and is the vital and necessary underlying craft of any great company or organization. Leadership is about empowerment, teams, and the relationship between people working on a team, between teams to teams, and ultimately, an organization operating as a single unit producing profits and creating shareholder value. Leadership is in its own realm and requires a different mindset and worldview. The leader must be a great manager - that is a given - but he/she also must know when to step away from the psychological limitations of the manager fixated on efficiency and adopt the mindset of a leader who is exploring the creative world of breakthrough into ‘out of the box’ thinking and hitherto unknown or experienced effectiveness of the organization.

How is this different from what is taught in business school?

Business schools are strong on management and weak on training people to be leaders. Management is based on control, domination, survival, and ultimately, fear. Most management is a carrot/stick game. The game is about managing for a result against a diminishing resource - time. Leadership requires transforming the relationships that people have while working together, mutual respect, collaboration, and stability. The culture of an organization is a function of the quality of leadership provided and attended to. If the management disrespects the employee, the employee will slow down and waste the most critical resource that management has - time. If the management provides effective leadership, the employee will respond by using the time effectively. Employees who have the experience of partnership and respect of their employers produce net superior results. Tribal Leadership builds sustainable environments where leadership and partnership arise naturally. Our data supports the point of view that a focus on culture and leadership produces superior results in a more efficient and sustainable manner than management techniques that focus on operational efficiencies alone.

If there’s such a focus on shareholder value, why isn’t everyone doing this?

The ‘shareholder value’ focus is a focus on the bottom line, not a focus on the cultural vitality of the organization. Tribal Leadership is focused on the well-being and effectiveness of the organization. Ultimately, shareholder value is an outcome of an effective and stable culture. The more effective the culture of the people at work, the more effective their results. Our philosophy and our supporting data have shown that if we effectively attend to the well being of the people doing the work, the quality of their work will show up in measurably higher productivity.

Why would people who are set in their ways participate if they have been successful in doing what they’ve been doing for years?

This is a key issue. Those at Stage 3 ‘have it made’ and are in control of those at Stage 2, so their incentive is predictably not great to change their ‘I’m great- You're not’ point of view. However, if the overarching interest of the organization is to elevate their culture and the outcomes and results of the greater group, then the Stage 2/Stage 3 culture must move to Stage 4. In order to do this, the issue of ego and self-promotion on the part of the Stage 3 people must be addressed. The organization will only move to Stage 4 if the issue of the Stage 2/Stage 3 mentality has been successfully addressed. The issue with Stage 3 will always show up in the overall financial success of the company

How do you get employees to buy-in?

We first do a diagnostic that tells us where we are culturally and the prevailing issues or predicaments that are just not getting resolved. This is called “culture mapping.” Then, we look to discover where there already is alignment to create new overall strategies, using the “strategy model.” Then, we drill down and do the work until each and every person has their own map and their own self-designed strategy. Success depends upon the degree to which people follow the strategies that they created themselves. Normally, the people in the C-Suite hand a strategy to the employees and demand “buy-in.” The way we do it, we involve everybody in the design of their own strategies/ and the wisdom of the overall strategy all at once.

How long does it take to implement a new culture?

Generally, it takes 18-24 months to elevate from a Stage 2 or 3 culture to a Stage 4 culture. Results start to show up within 1-2 quarters.

How do you measure results? Are these merely soft skills?

No, the soft stuff is the hard stuff. Measuring is easy. Measure before you start a project. Measure after you finish a project. When you go from Stage 3 to Stage 4, the results generally go from 3-5x in measurable results, including the bottom line. There are a variety of different metrics that we utilize as we go through the process. Different metrics are appropriate for different circumstances and cultural stages. For a run down on the different stages of culture, refer to the Tribal Leadership TED talk, here.

Will this require reorganization?

No, the current structure and configuration of a company work well with Tribal Leadership because the kinds of benefits are in management and leadership capacity and the ability to work together to resolve problems and produce business results.