How do we encourage people to join our cause?  Do we make it easy and convenient?  Are we relying on the post card inserts found in magazines?  When was the last time you filled out a subscription card (perhaps seventh grade and sent it to a friend’s address)?  When was the last time a prospective new member submitted a letter saying they were interested in joining?  When we opt in, we are giving permission to celebrate our action.  As an organization we have the opportunity to strike up the welcome band and amplify our values.


When I purchase a guide, conference ticket, or enroll in a course designed by Chris Guillebeau, I receive an email like this:

Thank you so much.  We are so excited that you are joining us at World Domination Summit.  Everyone in the office is giving high-fives and cheering right now.  We are rushing to the mailroom to send out your materials.  Our day could not be better and we hope yours is equally remarkable…

How we great people, new to us or  part of the the founding membership, matters.  When I board a legacy airline I expect a fake ‘hello’ and move on quickly.  We have entered into a transaction for service.  When I engage with a cause that shares my belief, I offer my talents.  How the insiders at the organization respond determines the depth and duration of the interaction.

Victory Speech

IMG_1303Victory speeches are great when accolades are bestowed upon us.  It provides a platform for us to recognize those who have provided fuel for our journey.  No matter the quest, we did not travel alone and relied on mentors and guides along the way.  Too often we wait until victory is gained before we give the speech.

What if we gave a little bit of the victory speech everyday?  What if we were generous with our compliments and recognition each time we assemble as a team?  What if the victory speech is not remarkable to the tribe because they have memorized the refrain?  How would we function if we were winning each and everyday?

For or With?

IMG_0288Would you rather someone was for us are with us?  Often we want what is convenient and that is a person to like us, contribute to us, or advocate for us.  We want individuals to take just enough action that we can say that they are for us.  However, to be with us takes another level of commitment.  Our enterprise might have a thousand fans but only a few work for the cause, serve on the board, and volunteer.  No everyone can be with us all the time but who shows-up consistently?  Those who are with us think about the needs of the tribe more profoundly.  They are anticipating the obstacles and preparing to celebrate our victories.

It is nice to have those who are for us.  We only remarkable because of those who are with us.

Why Tribes Matter

Seventeen million views in 24-hours of the latest Star Wars: The Force Awakens trailer.  If you wonder if a connected group of individuals can have an immediate shared experience, I think the force has spoken.

The 2016 Tour de France course was announced today in Paris.  Defending and former champions were on hand for the unveiling.  Since the course changes each year this event provides riders with their first reaction to the route and the preparation required.  Imagine if our enterprises could announce our next programs to such fanfare?  Why not?  If we are truly connected to our tribes, they will celebrate important news.

An Instant Tribe


Is your tribes instantly recognizable to each other?  Hang a pirate flag from your ship and anyone who comes within eye-sight knows your intentions.  Wear New York Yankees pinstripes, the Dallas Cowboy’s star, or a Harley Davidson tattoo and you find out quickly who is with you and who does not find favor with your alliances.  These are universal symbols and have taken decades to develop.  If you do not need everyone your focus should be on precise.

How have you distinguished your tribe?  Is it visible to those who need to know?  Do you need to be known beyond the borders of your tribe?  If not then release yourself from the self-imposed anxiety over being known by everyone.

Leaving the Tribe

Sherman Alexie spoke at the Cabin’s Readings and Conversations program in Boise last evening.  He is known for being a Spokane/Coeur d’Alene Native American, poet, film-maker, and author of such novels as The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian.  He was entertaining, troubling, thoughtful, empathetic, misguided, and unstoppable (the people seated next to me wondered aloud if he would ever stop talking).  He told stories, addressed current events, taunted liberal, shamed conservatives who had attempted to ban his book, and was the punchline of his jokes.  He also took [expletive delete] liberties with his language.

A significant tipping point in Sherman’s life came at age 13 when he left to attend a high school off his reservation.  Sherman reminded the audience that his most powerful discoveries and successes came because he walked away from his reservation seeking something else in the world.  He now serves as one of the most powerful link for both the native american communities and those of anglo heritage.  He refers to himself as a modern day Sacagawea. 

The enduring image of the evening was Sherman walking across the stage, hands raised, middle fingers extended as he mockingly walked out of an imaginary cave and the warmth of its fire.  The power of slipping the bonds of safe for the possibility of better was profound.  

How often do we choose the safety of the tribe over the chance to seek new experiences?  Sometimes, walking out of the cave is the most powerful act we can take.