Archive for December, 2008

Leading in the Online Chaord

The concept of chaordic leadership goes back to Dee Hock, the founder of Visa International and a leading management thinker. In The Art of Chaordic Leadership he defines chaord as “any self-organizing, self governing, adaptive, nonlinear, complex organism, organization, community or system, whether physical, biological or social, the behavior of which harmoniously blends characteristics of both chaos and order”. Continue reading ‘Leading in the Online Chaord’


Seth Godin’s Approach to Leadership

I have recently read and reviewed Seth Godin’s Tribes, and I thought it would be worth sharing some of his insights on leadership.

  • Tribes. According to Seth, tribes are groups of people that share a common interest and have a way to communicate. While most of the leaders leverage the tribe so that it can grow and gain new members, effective leaders transform the shared interest into a passionate goal and desire for change, and provide tools to improve the communication between tribe members and the leader.
  • Movements. Seth quotes Bill Bradley’s definition of a movement that contains three elements: a narrative that tells a story about the group and the future it’s trying to build; a connection between and among the leader and the tribe; and something to do. Only focusing on something to do is not enough.
  • Tightness. A leader can improve her tribe on two dimensions – its size and its tightness. While most leaders focus on size, sometimes a smaller but tighter tribe works better. There can be many strategies for tightening a tribe, like creating rituals, introducing people to one another, and providing a communications platform for tribe members.
  • Motivation. You can’t become an effective leader when you focus on your benefits. Great leaders focus on the followers and get their compensation from watching the tribe thrive.
  • Creating a Micromovement. Seth shares a step-by-step approach of creating an online micromovement:
  1. Publish a manifesto
  2. Allow followers to contact you
  3. Allow followers to contact one another
  4. Realize that money is not the point of a movement
  5. Track progress
  • Elements of Leadership. Challenge the status quo. Create a culture around your goal and involve others in that culture. Be curious. Use charisma. Communicate your vision of the future. Commit to a vision and make decision based on that commitment. Connect your followers to one another.
  • Positive Deviants. This is the best story I found in this book. Jerry Sternin decided to help starving Vietnamese children. He didn’t send any food to Vietnam though, he didn’t educate the local people either. Instead, he looked for families that were not starving, who learned to thrive in that environment. He told them how special they were, and asked to share their insights and methods with the wider community. These families were positive deviants. Such people are the key to success of any tribe or organization, as they bring a change for better, they challenge and improve the status quo.

If you follow this blog and are interested in the topic, I really recommend you read Tribes, or listen to the free (thanks Seth!) audio version.