Christian Long

David Logan: Tribal Leaders

In TED Talks on April 15, 2010 at 9:01 pm

Reflection by TAYLOR C.

Original TED page w/ speaker bio, links, comments, etc:

David Logan on Tribal Leaders

You never really think about it, but tribes are found everywhere. Not the typical society of people found on secluded islands, with body paint and what not as depicted by Hollywood. But groups of 20-150 people that have a common cause or culture and plan to get important things done with it.

Mr. Logan’s first example of such groups were found at Superbowl parties…Yes, I am referring to the biggest NFL football game of the year. He explained that tribes are indeed found everywhere, and all have have different purposes that keep them together and allow them to be considered ‘tribes’. Mr. Logan then went into describing how to classify each type of tribe based on 5 separate stages of culture.

Stage 1- “Life Sucks”
Stage one is the lowest stage of the 5. People of this stage are the criminals in jail, or the criminals on their way to jail.
“The Three Laws of performance” (as referenced in the video) argues that “as people see the world, so they behave.” Meaning that, if people have a negative view of the world, they will behave negatively towards it. Makes sense right? The people of this stage/culture have a negative view of the world, there for they act negative towards it and others. But there is good news, no one is pinned down in one stage. There have been many cases where people start off as the worst in stage one, and make their way to being at the top of stage 5. It isn’t easy, but it is definitely possible.

Stage 2- “My Life Sucks”
In stage 2 people aren’t necessarily the full blown criminals anymore, but they still aren’t quite out of that deep hole they dug for themselves. I guess the best way to describe stage 2 is for example the ’smackhead’ that decides that maybe they have a problem, and maybe just maybe, they should get some help. At this stage people begin to realize that it isn’t the world that caused them to be in their current situation, but it was them selves that held them back, and only they can get themselves out. In this stage people make things personal rather than generalizing for the rest of the world.

Stage 3- “I’m great. And you’re not.”
A majority of people find themselves in this third stage. I like to call this the stage of healthy competition. Constantly you find yourself in a situation where you are trying to prove yourself better than then person next to you. For example, in school or at work. There is a constant unspoken competition going on between you and your peers, co-workers, etc. Whether its to get the highest GPA, write the best TED talk review, or do a little extra to impress your boss in order to get that promotion, its all the same. Everyone in stage 3 are constantly trying to beat out everyone else around them in order to get to the top. But even the hardest workers sometimes find themselves remaining in the third stage for a vast majority, or even the entirety of their life.

Stage 4- “We’re Great”
In stage three, people were considered a ‘tribe’ but everyone still had this slight individuality shining through, keeping them from completely forming together. But in stage 4 that gap is filled (“We” is now put into play) and people really come together. Its not that they lose sense of self, but they have officially gelled together and form a stronger sense of unity, which gives them endless power and potential.

Stage 5- “Life is Great”
Stage five stands proudly at the top of the tot um pole. The power of a stage 5 tribe can easily be compared to supernatural. These are the tribes that have joined together for a cause, found plans to express their cause, and actually get things done. Stage 5 are the tribes you hear about in the news that have changed the world in some kind of way, and continue to find new ways to make things better. Stage 5s are the ultimate goal for every tribe on this earth. Deep down, everyone wants to be able to make a difference in the world and leave their mark for others to see in the future. All they need is little push in the right direction from a leader that is willing to help them help themselves, and eventually others. Are you that leader?


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