Five Tribes, not Two

A fleeting visit to Geneva yesterday – it’s always nice to arrive at the destination at 9am, in sync with everyone else’s working day, but leaving the house at 5am really doesn’t work for me, particularly when there’s a school governor’s meeting at the other end of the day. But all that travelling means clearing some email and finally catching up on some of the recent TED talks on the iPod.

The one that struck me most was David Logan’s on tribal leadership . Nice to see the focus being on groups of people rather than on the individuals – although I’m not sure about the categorisation of five basic types of tribe (with apologies to Frankie Goes To Hollywood for the poor blog title above). One thing useful that I’m going to think further on is David’s comment about the need to communicate with levels above and below where we are – making the conscious choice to talk only to one level is fine, but often isn’t it just an assumption that we’re all on the same level. Or, more perniciously, the only people worth talking to are.

I was also intrigued by his comments on the Worldwide poll as being such a startling thing from a market research company. Shouldn’t that be an obvious one, just difficult to implement?

It also plays into my concerns about how research and surveys are done – while they’re great in some places, I’ve spoken a lot in recent years to communicators and influencers about the lack of meaning in survey results and hence the confusion about what actions to take next. I think surveys and market research are an industry and a model with a powerful sway and a need for continued investment that distorts there actual usefulness.

[In the interests of disclosure, I’ve spent much of this past year working on pilots for an altogether different way of looking at cultures around the world, involving stories naturally. There’ll be more at appropriate moments on this blog.]

Written by Tony Quinlan, Chief Storyteller, Narrate