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The Five Tribal Stages Cheat Sheet by

methodology     tribal     logan


Every organi­zation is made up of “tribes” – groups of between 20-150 people who share a common culture. These tribes have the collective power to make more of a difference than the organi­zat­ion’s CEO, or any other leader. To understand how tribal leadership works, organi­zations can be divided into basic types of groups, which naturally form in any company, by the way the the groups interact with each other. Logan has catego­rized these tribal relati­onships into five basic Stages.

For the nearly 75% of the workforce, that fall into in Stages 2-3, the question is, “How do you raise your tribe from the current Stage to the next higher Stage?” The answer is; to change the tribe’s attitude one person at a time, by encour­aging them to use the language of the next higher Stage.
Dave Logan along with King and Haleee have written a book titled “Tribal Leader­ship” summarizes their research, their tribal leadership model and how corpor­ations and organi­zations can move from Tribes to the next higher Stage..

Stage 1: Despairing Hostility

If people at Stage One had T-shirts, they would read “life sucks,” and what comes out of their mouths support this adage. People at this stage are despai­ringly hostile, and they band together to get ahead in a violent and unfair world.
:“Life sucks”

Stage 2: Apathetic Victim

People in this cultural stage are passively antago­nistic; they cross their arms in judgment yet never really get interested enough to spark any passion. Their laughter is quietly sarcastic and resigned. The Stage Two talk is that they’ve seen it all before and watched it all fail. A person at Stage Two will often try to protect his or her people from the intrusion of manage­ment. The mood that results from Stage Two’s theme, “my life sucks,” is a cluster of apathetic victims.
“My life sucks”

Stage 3: Lone Warrior

People at Stage 3 have to win, and for them winning is personal. They’ll outwork and out-think their compet­itors on an individual basis. The mood that results is a collection of “lone warriors,” wanting help and support and being contin­ually disapp­ointed that others don’t have their ambition or skill. Because they have to do the tough work (remem­bering that others just aren’t as savvy), their complaint is that they don’t have enough time or competent support.
"Lone Warrior “I’m great (and you’re not)”


Stage 4: Tribal Pride

A “we’re great” tribe always has an adversary— the need for it is hardwired into the DNA of this cultural stage. In fact, the full expression of the theme is “we’re great, and they’re not.” For USC football, the “you’re not” is usually UCLA (and in good years, whichever team is contending for the national champi­ons­hip). For Apple’s operating systems engineers, it’s Microsoft (although this is changing as Apple has moved to using Intel proces­sors). Often, it’s another group within the company. A tribe will seek its own compet­itor, and the only one who has influence over the target is the Tribal Leader.
“We’re Great (and they’re not)”
The rule for Stage 4 is; the bigger the foe, the more powerful the tribe.

Stage 5: Innocent Wonderment

Stage Five’s T-shirt would read “life is great,” and they haven’t been doing illicit substa­nces. Their language revolves around infinite potential and how the group is going to make histor­y—not to beat a compet­itor, but because doing so will make a global impact. This group’s mood is “innocent wonder­ment,” with people in compet­ition with what’s possible, not with another Tribe.
Innocent Wonder­ment: “Life is Great”


Rela­tio­nship to People
Innocent Wonderment
"Life is Great"
Tribal Pride
Stable Partne­rship
"­We're Great"
Lone Warrior
Personal Domination
"I'm Great"
Apathic Victum
"My life sucks"
"Life Sucks"

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