A good friend shared the book “Tribes: We Need You to Lead Us” after seeing the author, Seth Godin, at the catalyst conference.
It’s rather interting assortment, the book. I had some thoughts (I know, I know, what a surprise.) Maybe these thoughts will be worth while even if you haven’t read the book.
A raised an eyebrow at the subtitle: “We need You to Lead Us.” It reminded me a bit of that radio commercial. It’s basically some sort of scam to put computers on a payment plan. The commercial is full of statements like “You deserve a new computer” and “it’s not you’re fault you have bad credit.”
Just for the record, my credit is epically horrible. So I’m not casting stones here. But I get it that I deserve those things I can honestly pay for. If my bad credit isn’t my fault, I’m curious just who’s fault it is. And really? Does the world need me to lead them?
Perhaps yes, perhaps no. But the subtitle says the same words to everyone. And I’m not just taking the subtitle out of context. There is a basic assumption that everyone should be a leader of a tribe. How he defines a tribe isn’t terribly important to my point here. But the idea that everybody should be a leader is a little questionable.
Pages 8-9 say, “everyone now is a leader. The explosion in tribes, groups, covens, and circles of interest means that anyone who wants to make a difference can. Without leaders, there are no followers. You’re a leader. We need you.”
To be fair, he says a lot about leaders stepping back and not stealing the lime light and not being control freaks. But it doesn’t seem like a tribe could have more than a few leaders, at most. It makes me wonder where all the followers are supposed to come from.
He hails mavericks and rule-breakers and people who think outside the box. “Suddenly, heretics, troublemakers, and change agents aren’t merely thorns in our side- they are the keys to our success. ” (11)
I’m not the most conservative, rule-crazy, egineerish guy that’s ever been born. But I recognize that we need conservative rule-following, egineerish people in the world. If everybody was like me the world would be fun, and random, and unpredictable, and chaotic, and surprising, and scary and inconsistent. I think if the author got his way that this is what we’d end up with: a world much less reliable in both the best and worst senses of the word.