Everybody needs a tribe to belong to and a purpose to fulfil.
A community to be part of and an assignment to be responsible for.
Leadership is the dance of someone and something. Too often we elevate one over the other and make results wrong at the expense of relationships, or relationships more important than achieving what we have set out to accomplish. Choosing that binary path is the fastest way to guarantee limiting the success of both. When we combine the right people with the right purpose we get the right results.
Leaders understand that relationships are central to results and results strengthen relationships. It’s a symmetry that remains balanced and held in tension.
Below is the Tribe and Purpose Master Model, take a quick look at the four corners of the model, the four challenges that are presented to us as we seek to build our tribe and discover our purpose. Each point of the model delivers its own challenge to us as leaders.
The four big challenges of Tribe and Purpose are:
- Our insecurity is challenged – When we need to lean in.
- Our discipline is challenged – When we want to find purpose.
- Our humility is challenged – When we need to find our people.
- Our confidence is challenged – When we need to optimise our future.
Intentional leadership is a journey we never graduate from. To choose to become more useful and influential is a profound gift you give yourself and others. At some point on the journey more will be asked of you than you have in skills, competency and confidence. At that point, if not before, lean into your tribe AND leverage your purpose. The people we journey with and the work we do. They are distinct yet deeply interconnected, and the closer you can bring the two the better for you and others.
Tribe and Purpose – Master Model
The Model explained:
Leadership is about who and what. Who we align with and what work we do. The vertical axis is your someone, your WHO. The horizontal axis is your purpose, your WHAT. Leadership is the balance of someone and something. Played out it looks like this:
- If your tribe and purpose are non-existent you are isolated and aimless.
- If your tribe is deep and your purpose non-existent you are connected but aimless.
- If your purpose is compelling but your tribe is non-existent you are motivated but isolated.
- If your purpose is rich and your purpose compelling you are optimised – connected and motivated.
The key is being able to locate yourself, this isn’t related to your personality. It’s a reflection of your circumstances. Are you clear on your purpose? Great. Who are the top five people in your world that help you make that purpose a reality? It’s a constant balance of the people and the work, the tribe and the purpose. Calibrating which area you are naturally stuck in and intentionally building up the other areas is the key to being optimised.
On Being Optimised:
Humans are not wired for going it alone. I believe humans are wired to empty their cup for the sake and service of others. Having the privilege of being connected in tribe and motivated by purpose comes with an equivalent responsibility to leverage that for the benefit of others.
I’d go so far as to say that we have a responsibility to live our best life, to become the best leadership version of ourselves FOR THE SAKE OF OTHERS. An under optimised life is a life that benefits fewer people. Our goal must be to become the best we can for the betterment of most people. Tribe and purpose. Both/And, not either/or.
So how does this become a reality?
To begin the process of finding your tribe and clarifying your purpose track with these five steps:
- Evaluate your reality – Are you weaker in one area or another, or both?
- Pick your starting point – Are you starting with tribe or purpose?
- Lean in and find your people – Look for those deep and rich connections.
- Refine and rewrite your purpose – Purpose is both discovered and created.
- Set the bar high – With a great tribe and compelling purpose there’s no limit to what you can achieve and contribute.
Leonardo da Vinci said, “Make your work to be in keeping with your purpose.” Leadership is about finding your people and fulfilling your potential, for your sake and for the sake of those coming after you.
This is for leaders. I am for leaders.