my tribe

Why We All Need a Tribe

Like you, I am a part of many groups, teams, membership bodies and communities of practice. They all offer something different. For some, I receive more than I give, while for others, the opposite is true.

One of my ‘tribes’ (see our happy group photo from last years Christmas lunch) stands out however as being pretty special, despite it operating in counter-intuitive ways that go against convention. This tribe is going strong heading in to its fourth year – thanks to (clockwise) Gerard Penna, Me/Author, Michelle Sales, Kathy McKenzie, Linley Watson and Dave Lourdes.

What Makes this Group Special

As we rocketed towards the end of another year, it caused me to reflect on what makes this group work so well:

  1. The name says it all – Our group is called ‘In Your Corner‘ which should give you a strong indication of what the group is about. We are there for each other during the good, bad and ugly times.
  2. We share a common purpose – Every member of the IYC tribe cares deeply about being the best practitioner we can be for our clients. We want to learn, grow and expand our knowledge, skills and depth of practice.
  3. It’s a ‘judgment free zone’ – Judgment is the killer of vulnerability – and a lack of vulnerability is the killer of human growth and potential. Group members feel safe.
  4. There is no agenda – There is no agenda, no preparation, no meeting notes and no objectives set. What!? Yes, you read right. We get together for half a day every two months never knowing what we’re going to talk about – and this creates enormous value. There is space to breath; space to reflect; and space to go to the places we don’t normally allocate enough attention or time towards.
  5. Challenge with humility – If you’re thinking that our meetings are hand-holding ‘love-ins’, then you have the wrong idea. The heat is turned up through group coaching, peer consultation processes and letting ‘the silence do the heavy lifting’ (thanks for the quote Susan Scott). As you might imagine, it’s a pretty interesting dynamic having six coaches/facilitators working as one! No shrinking violets here.
  6. There are no ‘no-go-zones’Nothing is off the table unless an individual says it is, so our topics of conversations are broad and varied. Conversations include things like: support around difficult client engagements; being purposeful; sustaining our energy for the work; fees; marketing; understanding best practice and global trends in learning and development; and collaborating on specific projects – just to name a few.
  7. Gratitude and ego – There is plenty of the first and not much of the second. The group goes about it’s business in a way which is not about points scoring or demonstrating how much we know or how good we are. While I consider tribe members to be among some of the best practitioners in Australia and abroad, people don’t feel the need to prove it. There is a richness in being able to give and receive the gifts of knowledge, feedback and wisdom.

How Are Your Tribes Working?

The word ‘tribe’ can be interpreted in many ways. However for me, a tribe is a collection of people that you are a part of – either voluntarily or by default – such as a membership group or organisational team. If there is no common purpose then it is unlikely to be a tribe in form, function or benefits received.

Your Five Questions:

The only ‘call to action’ I have for you is that I invite you to reflect on the following five questions:

  1. How are your tribes working for you?
  2. What tribes do you need to leave/create?
  3. Where do you need to adjust the way your tribes are working?
  4. How might you take an active step to bring one or more of the seven points (above) to your tribe?
  5. How do you need to ‘show up’ differently to help create your ideal tribe?

I would love to hear your thoughts on what makes your tribes great (or not)!

Why We All Need a Tribe