Your Business, Your Tribe

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Tribes, by Seth GodinImagine my surprise when I got the mail earlier this week and discovered a book that's not yet available to the public. Then I saw it was Seth Godin's newest book, Tribes: We Need You To Lead Us, and I got just a little bit giddy.

You see, as a marketing/sales type, I think Seth really knows what he's talking about. He's also on the leading edge with his thinking. And the lessons he has in his books always translate pretty easily over to the world of real estate ... commercial, residential, investment, whatever flavor is your favorite.

And nowadays with all of the turmoil in the markets, we all need to be thinking about building (or re-building) our businesses. You don't need to be in sales or marketing, or be a top exec at your company to do so. Heck, you don't even need to deal with clients or others outside your company to strengthen yourself and the company for which you work.

How? By leading a tribe.

Basically, leading a tribe is all about the book's subtitle: We need you to lead us (emphasis is actually from the book jacket). Speaking of the book jacket, it provides a succinct definition and explanation of a Tribe:

A tribe is any group of people, large or small, who are connected to one another, a leader, and an idea. ...

The Web can do amazing things, but it can't provide leadership. That still has to come from individuals -- people like you have passion about something. Anyone who wants to make a difference now has the tools at her fingertips. ...

If you ignore this opportunity to lead, you risk turning into a "sheepwalker" -- someone who fights to protect the status quo at all costs, never asking if obedience is doing you (or your organization) any good. Sheepwalkers don't do very well nowadays.

Godin's book is chock full of explanations on how to begin and lead a tribe (in an overall sense, of course). But overall, tribes are about a belief in an idea and a community. They're also about a respect for the tribe leader and for all members of the tribe (keep that in mind if you want to form your own tribe -- don't see it as a sales opportunity; but opportunity will flow from your leadership).

The old idea of "factories," or places where you go to work, have no say in how things are run, and pick up a pay check -- and especially buy stuff from factories -- is disappearing, Godin asserts. They're being replaced by tribes. Consumers are not buying "off-the-shelf" ideas anymore. And people are starting to flee employers that are strictly top-down. They're gravitating towards tribes of people that are centered around a specific topic: fashion, cars, etc. There's a ton of topics, so I won't go into them all here. But you get the idea.

He also has concrete examples of tribe leaders: From Gary Vaynerchuck, who leads a tribe of wine lovers via Wine Library TV (who I've met and e-mailed on several occasions - a great guy). From Mich Mathews, a VP at Microsoft of whom you've never heard, but her tribe of marketers within the software behemoth certainly has. And many others.

After reading this book, I'm certainly charged up to lead our own group of real-estate pros at our new professional and social networking for commercial/investment real estate, called Sibdu. And I'd bet that most of you who read it will be, too. It's been my experience that those people who turn their noses up at this kind of thing won't investigate it to see if it'll help them. If you're intrigued (and still reading this review), I'd say you're not a nose turner. You're ready to take that leap.

So be the initial splash that creates the wave of people who join your tribe. Be bold. Encourage conversation. Be partisan -- don't wimp out; have an idea, explain it, and have the will to make it happen. Embrace change. Do things.

Some people may be a bit put off by the book's tendency to leap around a bit. There's no real chapters in it; it reads kind of like a series of blog posts. But give it a chance. It's only 151 pages, and with a smaller format, it shouldn't take you very long to get through it. Believe me -- you'll be thankful you did.

Tribes drops October 16th, and I'd bet good money your local bookstore will have it. But betting's illegal in my state, so I won't. You can pre-order from, too.

Read it. Build your own tribe. Prosper. (Insert that Mr. Spock/Vulcan greeting/hand sign here).

For anyone connected with commercial real estate, you can lead your own tribe at Sibdu, with a Sibdu Group. As you'll learn from the book, tools are an important part of leading a tribe. We provide you with a lot of them, and we have even more coming. It's best if you have your own idea and/or use your expertise to start a tribe ... something about which you have passion. Because that's the best place to come from when you're leading a tribe.

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