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45 of 47 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Must-Read Work on Leadership and Organizations
PROS:

* Provides a researched system of classifying organizations and businesses as "tribes" that is easy to apply.
* Has useful ideas for helping people "tribe up" and improve their relations and improve organizational relations.
* Very readable and understandable.
* Doesn't pull punches on some of the conclusions.

CONS:...
Published on January 12, 2011 by Steven Savage

versus
4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Decent book, a little pedantic
This could have been a shorter book, but ultimately this was a good read. At some points the phrasing seemed ill-chosen. Zappo's offers this book as a free download, just go to their site /tribal.
Published 16 months ago by Picky Tablet Owner


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45 of 47 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Must-Read Work on Leadership and Organizations, January 12, 2011
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This review is from: Tribal Leadership (Kindle Edition)
PROS:

* Provides a researched system of classifying organizations and businesses as "tribes" that is easy to apply.
* Has useful ideas for helping people "tribe up" and improve their relations and improve organizational relations.
* Very readable and understandable.
* Doesn't pull punches on some of the conclusions.

CONS:

* Some historical interpretations are arguable.

SUMMARY: Buy this book and read it unless you have no interest in community, leadership, and business. In that case you're probably not even reading this blog.

Leadership books. I've been getting tired of them ever since people started deciding "The Art of War" could by applied to businesses if you ignored all the war, killing, use of fire, and soforth in the book. Everyone talks about Leadership in business and in the world, but as I don't see any improvement out there as the amount of lame Leadership books increase, so I assume most of these texts aren't that useful.

At the same time, I'm very interested of issues in Leadership since I don't see nearly enough of it. I see bean-counting management, rock-star style poseurs, and exploitative jerks with a narrative. I don't see enough leadership in business, politics, media, or more - real, rallying, directing, powerful leadership.

Tribal Leadership is the kind of book I've been waiting for. It not only explores issue of leadership, mostly (but not entirely) dealing with business, but issues of culture, organization, and community. In many ways its a book of applied sociology that happens to focus mostly on business.

Based on research covering a decade, the book lays out a very clear thesis:

1. Humans naturally form tribes.
2. These tribes can be classified into 5 types each with a unique attitude towards life, and become more functional as you move from Type 1 to Type 5.
3. It is possible to coach people and groups to "tribe up" the scale to become more cohesive, functional, and productive (and in some cases at least less pathological)

The book is split between describing the theories, and describing how people and groups can advance from lower to higher Tribal levels. Each chapter leads naturally to the next, and handy checklists and bulletpoints help you keep track of important ideas. This clear focus and organization makes the book easy to read, refer to, and use.

As for the theory itself? It's simple and intuitive Essentially there are five tribal types, each defined by an attitude of members:
Level 1 - "Life Sucks" - pathological, gang-like, angry.
Level 2 - "My Life Sucks" - a mix of learned helplessness, bitterness.
Level 3 - "I'm Great" - Productive and dynamic but egocentric.
Level 4 - "We're Great" - tribe-oriented, creative, productive, tight.
Level 5 - "Life Is Great" - Big-picture, tribe-connecting.

You can probably guess right now which level you and your friends and co-workers function at (hint: you're probably also wrong).

The theory itself is extremely applicable in my experience, and the authors give extensive information to help you understand where you and your various organizations fit on the tribal scale. The clear boundaries of levels, straightforward explanations, and explanations of the classifications helps you use this theory and see the sheer lack of B.S. Just be prepared for a few ego-bruises because most people think they function higher than they do (and this book will puncture your illusions).

The theory comes with tips, advice, and directions for raising tribal level of people and organization. These sections are straightforward with excellent detail, from things to try, to signs to look for to identify personal progress. Again there's a refreshing lack of B.S. here.

So is the book flawless? No. There's a few moments of historical reference and metaphor that seem stretched or that I disagree with. There could be some better explanation of techniques at a few points.

These are minor concerns.

Here's what you need to know about this book- you should read it unless you have a reason not to, like a lack of money or being currently dead.

How much did I like this book? I've given two copies as gifts and my Kindle edition is filled with notes, I've joined a group to discuss it, founded another, and am discussing applying it's philosophy with other people. Yeah, I was impressed.

This is a must-read
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57 of 64 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Insightful but not necessarily rigorous, March 30, 2010
By 
Mr Likeable (Melbourne, Australia) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Tribal Leadership: Leveraging Natural Groups to Build a Thriving Organization (Hardcover)
What I liked:
Rich insights into human behaviour, group dynamics and individual motivation.
Very useful, structured and specific suggestions - in essence, management tips that can be applied.
More readable than the average business book - well written.
I would have liked:
Less of a "consultant hard sell" tone. I think there's an emerging pattern of consultant academics writing books that over-sell the observations within, and verge on style exceeding substance. There is good stuff in this book, and the tips appear sensible, but the constant "move up one level at a time" to "the fifth level that we don't even know yet" ...maybe it's just me, but I think this book would benefit by turning down the volume; not every set of consultants' observations needs to promise a transformed world - it's not going to happen. I think this is a common problem in current business literature.
Summary:
In my view, a very accessible and useful book that possibly over-estimates its own "system".
I'd recommend it to young managers as a very good introduction to organisational dynamics, and to entrepreneurs who need a little help understanding the motivations of their employees.
This book probably augments "Good To Great" quite nicely - if you liked that, you might like this; I'd read "Good To Great" first.
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34 of 40 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars What stage are you and your company? How do you get to the next level?, January 23, 2008
By 
Rich (California) - See all my reviews
This review is from: Tribal Leadership: Leveraging Natural Groups to Build a Thriving Organization (Hardcover)
The most insightful management book I've read since business school.

The book starts with an accessible framework for evaluating corporate cultures, each with instantly recognizable traits -- from the DMV to Apple to your company. Stage 1: Life sucks. Stage 2: My life sucks. Stage 3: I'm great (and you're not). Stage 4: We're great (and they're not). Stage 5: Life is great.

While the vast majority of the working world is stuck in stages 2 and 3, Tribal Leadership delivers tools to help individuals and organizations break through to the next evolutionary stage. I found this a powerful, pragmatic and surprisingly fun read.
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10 of 10 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A new way to look at Leadership, July 2, 2012
By 
Shawn Kinkade (Kansas City, MO United States) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Tribal Leadership: Leveraging Natural Groups to Build a Thriving Organization (Hardcover)
I read a lot of business books and a lot of books on leadership - most of them have at least a few good ideas in them, but this is the first leadership book I've read that's driven me to look at organizations and the art of leadership in a completely different way. Another reviewer mentioned that it was liking having someone giving you glasses and suddenly being able to see in a completely different way - I felt that way as well. Even better, this isn't a book that just shares some opinions or ideas, with over 10 years of research across 24,000 people it's pretty clear the authors did a lot of hard research to figure out Tribal Leadership.

What is Tribal Leadership - in a nutshell it's a completely new framework for how to look at leadership and creating high performing organizations. It's not about strategy and it's all about the culture and the evolution of the organization. It turns out there are 5 distinct stages of organizational culture that all build on one another.

Stage 1 - Life Sucks...equivalent of a street gang mentality, not really a factor in most professional settings
Stage 2 - My Life Sucks...Dilbert, the employees at Dunder Mifflin (The Office) or the employees at Initech Software (Office Space) are great, if a little over done examples of Stage 2 cultures.
Stage 3 - I'm Great! (and you're not) - the lone warrior who is very competent and effective by themselves, but doesn't share well with others. Office politics, bad management practices and Stage 2 Cultures all come from Stage 3 managers.

Stage 4 - We're Great - the language changes from I, Me to We and Us. It's all about the success of the team vs. individual accomplishments. The only way to really get to Stage 4 is to really 'own' stage 3. Stage 4 organizations will significantly out perform Stage 3 and lower organizations in terms of financial results and ability to get things done.

Stage 5 - Life is Great...this stage occurs sporadically when Stage 4 organizations rise to a significant challenge and do something borderline miraculous (Think the 1980 Miracle on Ice US Hockey victory).

In order to get an organization to Stage 4, the majority of people within an organization need to be at Stage 4...they need to have reached an epiphany in Stage 3 that doing everything yourself isn't productive in the long run - you've got to have a team that you can count on if you really want to make things happen.

A couple of key ideas that are critical for Stage 4 include:
Triadic relationships - basically the idea that a group of 3 people can form a very effective and stable relationship when they all 3 share the burden of making the relationship successful.
Core Values - In order to reach a stage 4 culture, a group must have clearly stated alignment on core values...the types of values that make getting up in the morning important!
Noble Cause - Finally, Stage 4 cultures revolve around ideas that are bigger than any 1 person...you must have a Noble Cause that everyone understands and gets behind.

It's tough to summarize these really big ideas - but hopefully that gives you a taste. The book has a lot of interesting stories and examples and the authors do a nice job of stepping you through the ideas in a logical flow that makes a lot of sense. If you're looking for a set of ideas that will really shake up how you think and how you create a team that will do more...a lot more than you need to check out Tribal Leadership!
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50 of 62 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars If you only read one book on organizational culture, this should be it, January 23, 2008
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This review is from: Tribal Leadership: Leveraging Natural Groups to Build a Thriving Organization (Hardcover)
To all those wondering "Why?" and "How?" certain organizations are more productive than their peers, Logan, King and Fischer-Wright have some concrete answers. In their landmark book, "Tribal Leadership", they explore the essence of organizational culture. What they have uncovered is a dynamic at least 15,000 years in the making, and at the heart of all human organizations: the tribe. We operate in a "tribe"-a group of 20 to 150 people- in which important decisions are made and productivity is determined. Larger organizations are "tribes of tribes". Five stages describe the evolution of the tribe, from savage and dysfunctional to innovative and powerfully inspirational. What sets this work apart is its practical advice on both identifying the stage of the tribe and the means to advance to the next stage. Laced with real-life examples, the book is eminently readable. There is no doubt it will transform the reader, no matter where their own tribe finds itself. They will understand the difference between leading and commanding.
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7 of 8 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Leaders and Leadership Coaches - This is a book for you!, September 4, 2010
This review is from: Tribal Leadership: Leveraging Natural Groups to Build a Thriving Organization (Hardcover)
According to Dave Logan, in the work place, there are 5 tribal stages. Stage One's theme is "Life sucks"; Stage Two "My life sucks"; Stage Three "I am great and you are not"; Stage Four "we are great and they are not" and Stage Five "Life is great".

Stage Three represents 49% of workplace. That means while people often preach the need for teams, their behavior shows that they discourage teaming - unless it is a situation where they can be the star. The performance review system makes the culture more individualistic. People attempt to outperform each other. The language they use expresses "I am great" and in the background unstated is "and you are not". They hoard information to keep power. They rely on gossip and spies for political information. They are hungry for tips, tools and techniques that will keep them ahead of their competition. They talk about values and focus on "my values". The cost is that they have many blind spots, don't have enough time and don't get enough support. They can't get to the next level.

The purpose of the book is to build great companies, and this means getting you and your tribe to Stage Four - 22% of the workplace. They walk in values and want to collaborate. They are happy, inspired, genuine and identify with each other. They work less and produce more. They communicate more information, more often and with transparency.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Decent book, a little pedantic, May 16, 2013
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This review is from: Tribal Leadership (Kindle Edition)
This could have been a shorter book, but ultimately this was a good read. At some points the phrasing seemed ill-chosen. Zappo's offers this book as a free download, just go to their site /tribal.
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29 of 40 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Finally, a business book I can use, a lot., February 1, 2008
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This review is from: Tribal Leadership: Leveraging Natural Groups to Build a Thriving Organization (Hardcover)
Length:: 1:54 Mins

I've read a lot of business books and most of them I think about once and rarely even think about it. With Tribal Leadership I find it applicable whenever I talk about work, or talk to someone about their company. (more in the video)
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Tribes Unleashed!, December 4, 2011
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To begin the authors define a tribe as "a group between 20 and 150 people. Here's the test for whether someone is in one of your tribes: if you saw her walking down the street, you'd stop and say "hello"". The continue: "Tribes in company get work done - sometimes a lot of work - but they don't form because of work. Tribes are the basic building block of any large human effort, including earning a living. As such their influence is greater than that of teams, entire companies, and even superstar CEOs. In companies, tribes decide whether the new leader is going to flourish or get taken out. They determine how much work gets done, and of what quality." The key question is then what makes the difference between tribes that excel and others that do not? The authors argue it is the presence of Tribal Leaders. The continue by defining what tribal leaders do: "Tribal Leaders focus their efforts on building the tribe - or more precisely, upgrading the tribal culture...Divisions and companies run by Tribal Leaders set the standard of performance in their industries, from productivity and profitability to employee retention. They are talent magnets, with people so eager to work for the leader that they will take a pay cut if necessary...Their efforts seem effortless, leaving may people puzzled by how they do it. Many Tribal Leaders, if asked can't articulate what they are doing that's different, but after reading this book, you will be able to explain and duplicate their success."

The book's main focus after having defined the tribe and Tribal Leadership is to "give you perspective and tools of a Tribal Leader: someone who can unstick the conveyor belt - and make it run faster for whole groups of people, no matter which stage they're in. The result is more effective workplaces, greater strategic success, less stress, and more fun." This conveyor belt is an analogy for what the authors define as the tribal stages 1 through 5. Each stage is characterized by certain language and behavior.

Stage 1: "The person at Stage One is alienated from others, expressing the view that "life sucks."

Stage 2: "Stage Two people are surrounded by people who seem to have some power they lack. As a results, their language expresses "my life sucks."

Stage 3: "The person at Stage Three is connected to others in a series of dyadic (two-person) relationships. the language of this stage expresses "I'm great," and in the background - unstated - is "and you're not."

Stage 4: "The person forms structures called triads, in which they build values-based relationships between others. At the same time, the words of Stage Four people are centered on "we're great" and, in the background, "and they're not." The "they" is another tribe - in the same company or in another.

Stage 5: "A person at Stage Five expresses "life is great." Five shares the same characteristics of Four, except that there is no "they." As a result, these people form ever-growing networks with anyone whose values resonate with their own. The only Stage Five cultures we have observed (in corporate settings) exists as long as a history-making project lasts or as long as the tribe is so far ahead of its competitors that they are irrelevant."

Simply put the role of Tribal Leaders is "do two things: (1) listen for which cultures exist in their tribes and (2) upgrade those tribes using specific leverage points."

A very interesting, educative and fun read. It helps one look at companies through a new viewpoint with a specific focus on the culture and relationships/dynamics within it. It is filled with practical real-life examples and applications and backed by substantial empirical research. Highly recommended!

Below are excerpts from the book that I found particularly insightful:

1- "People at Stage Three approach leadership as though it were a set of tasks they could check off their to-do list (e.g., "set the vision," "get alignment," and "listen with intention"). The moment leadership becomes cookie-cutter, it isn't leadership at all - it's management. By making the person aware that he's behaving in a Stage Three fashion toward leadership, you might help him see that he isn't a leader at all. This realization may propel him into the set of epiphanies of the next chapter."

2- "...The two most important aspects of owning Stage Four: identifying and leveraging core values, and aligning on a noble cause. Everything else the tribe does should be sandwiched between these constructs. Projects, activities, initiatives, processes - unless they are fueled by values and reach toward the tribal vision - should either be rethought until they are consistent with these guiding principles, or pruned. By definition, core values and a noble cause can never be "checked off," in the same way that companies complete an upgrade to computer technology."

3- "...Values must be core, and that means universal...Second, the unity resulting from core cause and a noble cause must be alignment, not agreement...Alignment, to us, means bringing pieces into the same line - the same direction."

4- "The Tribal Leadership Strategy Map: Start with core values and noble cause in the center, then move to outcomes and go counterclockwise around the model (assets and behaviors). Test Questions: Assets sufficient for the Outcomes? Enough assets for behaviors? Will behaviors accomplish outcomes?"

5- "An outcome, by contrast (to a goal), is a present state of success that morphs into an even bigger victory over time."

6- "A stage five tribe can work with any group that has a commitment to values that are core and that apply to everyone, even if those values are different from its own."

7- "While Tribal Leaders do their work for the good of the group, not for themselves, they are rewarded with loyalty, hard work, innovation, and collaboration. The tribe gets work of higher quality done in less time. The person is often seen as a candidate for op organizational jobs or for positions in government."
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5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Recipe Book for High Performance Cultures, February 1, 2008
This review is from: Tribal Leadership: Leveraging Natural Groups to Build a Thriving Organization (Hardcover)
After hearing a presentation on the concepts of Tribal Leadership, I immediately saw the clear connection to most business models and the relative ease of implementation. At my company, we motivate our teams by leveraging shared values to build cohesive relationships. Tribal Leadership has given my executives a true systematic approach to raising the performance potential of their teams. It brought instant calibration to our assessment efforts and took the guess work out of selecting tactics to move individuals forward to a state of mind where they are performing well, focusing on team results and obtaining more satisfaction from the workplace. "We're Great!" I highly recommend!!
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Tribal Leadership: Leveraging Natural Groups to Build a Thriving Organization
Tribal Leadership: Leveraging Natural Groups to Build a Thriving Organization by Halee Fischer-Wright (Hardcover - January 22, 2008)
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