Tribal Leadership Hits Town

We had a mini meltdown in our festival team last week. Its a mini meltdown based on success. You know the problem? You work on a project and you think you know what the results will be. And something else happens and you get that sinking feeling in your stomach – and then realise the change is a positive result.

So here we are, six people working together for months now, inviting people from our town to participate in our festival in whatever absurdly creative way they can imagine. The book binder decided he’ll bring a famous author to read short stories. The graphic designer decided to test her idea for a concept store and invite the floor makers, the furniture store and an interior designer to join her.

We are doing this because

– our town is awesome

– the people in our town are awesome

– we have amazingly skillful tradespeople in our town

– we love connecting people to business and business to people.

And then it happened. I visited one merchant and he said sorry, I can’t participate after all, I will open my store and have artists there all day. This was not as weird as you may think. We planned our town festival, BouleVaart, to coincide with the Art Route that another group of townsfolk have set up. The Art Route is all weekend, BouleVaart on Sunday and the shopkeepers have organsed a street fair on the Saturday. What we hadn’t reckoned on is the impossible: the shopkeepers decided to open on Sunday as well. Never in all their existence has this happened.

And that is a problem, why?

The butcher has to choose, as does the baker and the coffee place, whether they will be open or whether they will join us on our festival site 250 meters down the road. Some can have it all, and be in both places. Others have to choose.

Dealing with success is something that Tribal Leaders have to learn to do. It is par for the course when you keep focused on the core values that are driving you in your work. Let me put it this way. If people spend a lot of time complaining at work, or worrying about things that might happen that really will never happen (I hate it when people say things like:”If we let you do X, everyone will want to do X and we can’t afford that.”), that is precious time they are not spending focused on what they are there to do. I see it in schools, in offices, in projects. People don’t want to talk with someone because they are afraid of what the other person may think. So no conversation and nothing happens. Tribal Leaders focus on their core values. Every time they hit a rough patch there are two other people, their triad, they can talk with and who can remind them of why they get up in the morning, or as in our case, why they spend every Tuesday evening preparing an event and our spare time during the day getting in touch with people.

Training people in organisations to be tribal leaders is what NETSHEILA loves to to.

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