What is a TRIBE and why do I need one?

A photograph of people standing in a circle all piling hands in the center.

A tribe is a group of people that surround you, giving you encouragement and support, while you follow your dreams. In business, as Seth Godin outlined in his best-selling book “Tribes,” it is also a dedicated group of fans and followers who want a leader to engage them in a movement that allows them community and purpose. In return, the tribe will organically help the business to grow and prosper both through financial support themselves and ‘evangelism’ of the cause, brand and/or business.

Based on that definition, a tribe should consist of six things: 

  1. A leader
  2. A movement/cause that is exciting, inspiring and/or engaging
  3. Dedicated followers and fans
  4. A method to communicate with you
  5. A method to communicate with each other
  6. A channel by which to communicate with the world.

Most often, a tribe will have some common ground with you and with each other.  They are tied together in purpose and will often push the leader to ‘be better’ as well—since the leader is often accountable in some form or fashion, to the tribe.

When considering the concept of a tribe, the Internet has broken down any geographical walls to tribe-building that previously existed. Today, social media friends are often as equally valuable as real-life friends. This is common in both personal and professional spheres.  In fact, today, they are often blended—whether we like it or not.

But amazingly, one of the most powerful benefits of a tribe is that once members become a part of your tribe, they are often fiercely loyal. And they will help build your business or organization for you.

Here are a few tips on how to successfully build your tribe:

  • Learn from who you admire

Take some time to evaluate successful people and get inspired by their accomplishments along their journey. The better you know their profile, the more inspiration and structure you’ll have.

  • Challenge the people in your tribe – or who you want in your tribe – to push themselves

As your tribe does for you, you need to reciprocate by pushing them to be the best version of themselves they can possibly be—day in and day out. Compliments are appreciated but take it a step further. Give constructive criticism where it’s due, but in a polite, encouraging manner that shows you care about their development and their growth.

  • Express happiness to your people

Dogs have no shame in expressing their happiness when they see their loved ones, so why should we? Show your enthusiasm and excitement when you see your friends, family, and members of your tribe. They’ll love being treated and seen as important and it will inspire loyalty and dedication.

  • Forget the chit chat, dive right in

Get personal. Get to the know the people in your tribe on a personal level. What are their interests? What are they passionate about? What are their goals? How is their life going? Are they in a relationship? With who? Are they in love? How are their kids?

While all of this may sound personal and “unprofessional” to some, to tribe leaders – who are able to inspire that massive loyalty and dedicated action and support from their tribe, there is no such thing. These types of questions and discussions show you REALLY care about the person and not just what they can or will do for you.

Take the time and make the effort to reach out to your tribe to create that connection and they’ll likely reach back, forming a stronger bond between the two of you. 

  • Be genuine

The person who is best at being you is you. Be yourself. You’re encouraged to seek inspiration from others, but remember to be your own person, with your own uniqueness.

  • Be generous 

You reap what you sew in life, so be sure to give greatness. Give care. Give appreciation. Give love.

Generosity is not only shown through tangible objects, but also in things like time and real attention. Give your tribe the time of day, let them speak out; let them share their story and let them be heard. A listening ear is a great gift to give.  For your online tribe, give them shout-outs, tag them in posts, or simply like their status just to spread some thoughtfulness and appreciation.

  • Connect people

Always keep your tribe’s best interest at heart. Think about who you know that could lend a hand in helping the members of your tribe ALL grow and prosper. Make connections between members and with other stakeholders whenever possible.

At the end of the day, building a tribe is much more about what you can offer than what you will receive. Be honest, kind, genuine, and encouraging while building your community. Last, but not least, make friends and connections with intention and purpose so that one day you’ll have a personal, prosperous, community surrounding you and encouraging you—WANTING to see you succeed and helping you and your business flourish and grow.