5 – Build your tribe
In the previous post, we saw how digital age organisations harness the full potential of their people. However, the real value comes when your people operate in a concerted manner.
Tribes work best
To complete the three pillars that underpin the Biz 4.0 model, we will now explore why we work best when we work as a tribe. This is the third tenet of the model:
The most successful business model of all time is that of the tribe. Modern day humans are still wired to be tribal. Smart organisations will harness this innate ability to create organisations that are adaptable to whatever is macroeconomically thrown at them.
From a business model perspective, the tribe is the most successful of all time. The industrial era model that we are all familiar with has only been around a few centuries and as we are witnessing it only works when there is a high degree of certainty. The leaders of the industrial age managed to contrive such conditions for quite a while, but today uncertainty and chaos reign and its only going to get worse.
Tribes were designed for unpredictable and harsh environments. Lose concentration for just a moment and the consequences could be fatal.
Back then, competitor often meant predator.
We have employed this tribal model for the majority of our time on the planet, so it has a very strong track record. The good news is that we are wired to be tribal, so structuring your organisation around tribal principles should be well received by the grittier cohort of your people.
In studying the research of those that study tribes, I have identified five key tribal success factors that modern day organisations would do well to emulate. Here they are:
- Added Value.
Expanding on these:
- Attention: Smart tribes pay attention to what is happening in their environment. Not doing so could be fatal. Similarly, they pay great attention to what is happening within the tribe to minimise discord and distraction.
- Ambition: Smart tribes have a common sense of purpose. Everyone is agreed on the goal and are willing to do what it takes to be successful
- Artistry: Smart tribes value people whose creative skills can help generate tradable resources. Conversely, tribal members who are not generating assets must therefore be a net consumer and are thus very likely to be drummed out of the tribe.
- Adaptability: Smart tribes quickly recognise when there are no more berries left on the bush and therefore move on in search of new food sources. They don’t ask why this has happened. They don’t hang around in the hope that things will change. They adapt.
- Added Value: Smart tribes generate assets that they can trade with other tribes for the resources that are needed to sustain the tribe.
Today’s organisations should be looking to weave these five tribal Success Factors (SF) into their business processes. Keep in mind that tribes do not operate a functional departmental model. The less your organisation is structured around the traditional industrial organogram, the better. This model was created with the interests of the organisation, rather than the customer, in mind.
Building the business around these tribal SF elements offers a better balance between the internal needs of the organisation and the manner in which it engages with its environment.
Time to dismantle your business?
I would not expect established businesses to dismantle their existing departmental structure. That would generate chaos with no promise of business improvement. So, I would advise that you assign each SF element to a senior executive.
A crude mapping might be as follows:
- CIO: Attention.
- CEO: Ambition.
- CHRO: Artistry.
- CMO: Adaptability.
- COO: Added Value.
Though this creates compartmentalisation across these elements that undermines their effectiveness.
In the Biz 4.0 model each of these SF elements are further broken down. For example, Ambition is subdivided into:
The breakdown of the SF elements along with the wider Biz 4.0 model is detailed in my Biz 4.0 book.
Digital age leaders create cultures made up of people who are passionate about the organisation’s vision. They encourage experimentation (“If it ain’t broke, fix it”) and ownership of how strategy is implemented. Plus, they recognise that leadership is something that is granted by the team, rather than bestowed by the HR department.
A new mind-set
A tribal mind-set requires all staff to take responsibility for their performance. This is in stark contrast to the ‘learned helplessness’ that comes with being micromanaged. Taking responsibility involves ‘thinking’ and thus such an approach makes better usage of the organisation’s collective cognitive capacity.
Fundamentally a tribal mind-set requires a high degree of mutual trust and respect between all members.
Many industrial era organisations are not built on trust. This needs to be fixed as a priority.
So now, in this fifth post in the series, we have covered the three main pillars on which the Biz 4.0 model is based. To summarise they are:
- Success Factors (SF).
- Anthro Drivers (AD).
- Value Creators (VC).
In the next post, we are going to cover the steps you need to take if you are going to implement the Biz 4.0 model in your organisation.
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