Seth Godin makes a great passionate speaking engagement on leadership. He introduces his concept as a tribe or group to make change. People do not know what they do for a living. Mr. Godin argues what he thinks that we do – Try to change status quo. We try to make what he calls “big permanent important change.” He states that the modern way to do this leadership is the tribe concept and that it works well.

His example was that of the San Francisco MSPCA. It original charter was to catch and kill stray animals. Nathan, who was involved with the SPCA in this area, got the charter changed to that of an animal adoption agency. He did so by creating a movement by engaging the city officials and then the community to share his concern for pets. He found those who believed in his cause and used them to make groups to help him. He then replicated it in other states. Rather then by using mass media or spam, he got those interested and formed a movement.

Mr. Godin cites Al Gore and others as “light bulb breakers.” He terms those who live to an analogy in a Jewish Wedding, where a light bulb is broken to move the old into the new. Anyone can be a leader he says, and do not be afraid to break with the old and make new ideas happen. In marketing, the evolution form the factory worker, to mass production and mass marketing, to spamming and junk mail, has given way to a tribe mentality. This is a small group of person with a potent message. In social media it can come by way of a Facebook profile, a blog, an online review, or even a new portal by which products and services can be shown and sold. If the message is true, then it will be carried in its true form through many mediums and achieve measurable results. These people are not forced, argues Mr. Godin, but engage in tribes and then use common interest to be a movement towards change. The key to any grassroots effort in his terms is to use your ability to challenge, create a new culture, keep your curiosity within in out of your skill set, and to connect with others through charisma and commitment. Charisma to him is leadership in spirit and drive.

Looking to a time when I felt the impact of the changes that have come from increasing use of social media, I would have to say that it would be the last Presidential election. By using social media tools, online fund raising, blogs and online talking points, a little known Senator from Chicago was able to challenge a two term incumbent President and win the Presidency. He sent his message right to the people who would listen and repeat it. He appealed to the Tweeters, bogglers, and the Face bookers who were fed up with the staus quo in Washington DC. They posted, texted, went online and donated funds, and became e- soldiers for the message of now President Barrack Obama. Whether you agree with his politics or not, the heretics of the day got his message out and people listen and voted him in. His online campaign mantra “Yes We Can” was everywhere.

How does one be an effective tribe leader? For marketing and for life, Mr. Godin lays out his steps to tribal success. They are tell a story to those who share your interest,
connect a group to tribe of similar interest in an issue, lead a movement of people towards the desired result, and finally to achieve the result as a tribe. In all honesty, if the marketing message or cause is valid, these steps will take care of themselves. See you out on the plains of change. Best of luck. Ty Ray