Lead, Follow, or Get Out of the Way

Lead, Follow, or Get Out of the Way

Everyone’s writing about leadership these days, Dale Carnegie, John Maxwell, and Stephen R. Covey, of course, but also Patrick Lencioni, Seth Godin, Simon Sinek, and Brené Brown, to name just a few. Anyone who’s talking about this Entrepreneur Economy we seem to be living in is also talking about servant leadership, innovation, tribes, teams, and all the other related concepts.

I read Godin’s book, Tribes, yesterday. What a great read for the relatively small group of collaborative professionals engaged in changing the way the world gets divorced! When I started reading this gift from a friend of mine, I had no idea what Godin meant when he used the word “tribe,” but his easy read quickly got me up to speed. For all of us who are members of the tribe that is committed to moving families out of the court room and into the conference room, the key concepts for enhancing our tribe’s effectiveness follow.

A tribe arises when people have a shared interest and a way to communicate from:

  1. Leader to tribe;
  2. Tribe to leader;
  3. Member to member; and
  4. Member to outsider.

That certainly describes us. But so what? One of the biggest problems we face, as a tribe, is how to enhance our effectiveness. We all know it’s the problem but most of us don’t know what to do about it, other than to provide our professional services in the best way we can.

Godin provides the solution. A leader increases the effectiveness of his tribe in three possible ways:

  1. Transforming the shared interest into a passionate goal and desire for change;
  2. Providing tools to allow members to improve their communications; and
  3. Leveraging the tribe to allow it to grow and gain new members.

The challenge is to determine which tactic to maximize. Focusing on the third tactic, which is most common, is not usually the most impactful. This is why I focus my trainings on what we call “marketing,” but what is better described as “how to communicate the value of the collaborative divorce process to the public.”

Most people have jobs in which they fight change and work to defend the status quo (Godin spends a lot of time discussing this concept). This is exhausting work and it is why many people hate their jobs.

On the other hand, when he can’t sleep, he’s checking his emails… because he loves what he does. Most people who are engaged, satisfied, and eager to get to work, like the members of the collaborative tribe, are making some kind of change happen. “They challenge the status quo and push something forward – something they believe in.” This describes every member of our tribe, the collaborative lawyers, facilitators, coaches, and financial professionals who are committed to providing a better service for clients who are in the midst of restructuring their families.

We are a “micromovement,” a few thousand people connected by the Web who want to make change happen. So how do we grow our micromovement? Godin makes five suggestions:

  1. Issue a manifesto. It doesn’t have to be published or even written. But it’s a mantra and a motto and a way of looking at the world (or the traditional way of doing things, i.e. the problem). Give it away. It will unite your members and give them structure.
  2. Make it easy for followers to connect with you. Doesn’t matter how, by emailing you or watching you on video or joining your FB page.
  3. Make it easy for followers to connect with each other. He notes the shared drink in the preferred flyers airline lounge. I note the nod that fellow Starbucks buyers might give each other, united by their coffee cups. “Great leaders figure out how to make these interactions happen.”
  4. Realize that money is not the point of the movement.
  5. Track your progress. Do it publicly and create paths for your members to contribute to that progress.

Godin also suggests six principles for a micromovement:

  1. Transparency. “People smell subterfuge from a mile away.”
  2. It must be bigger than any individual leader. An author and his book, or a speaker and her PowerPoint is not a movement; changing the way that people get divorced is.
  3. Movements that grow, thrive.
  4. Join your competition. Movements are clear when compared to the status quo or opposing movements. They do less well when compared with tribes that have similar goals. So don’t compete.
  5. Exclude outsiders. Who isn’t a member matters almost as much as who is.
  6. Tearing others down is not nearly as productive as building your followers up.

The job of the tribal leader is to find other micromovement leaders with the same goals (Seth calls them “positive deviants,” or “agents of change”) in any given community and support them. “Great leaders embrace deviants by searching for them and catching them doing something right.” Support can be by helping them communicate within the movement (I call it “the change community”), or with outsiders, i.e. clients.

In my case, I not only teach collaborative professionals how to market their services, but I also make it easy for them to publish bestselling chapters and books.

So, if you are a collaborative leader, contact Joryn Jenkins at Joryn@OpenPalmLaw.com. Check out my website, www.JorynJenkins.com. Friend me on Facebook or on LinkedIn. Let me know that you are in my tribe. Tell me how I can help you, or, perhaps, let me know how you can help me! We have a shared passion in changing the way the world gets divorced. Every time we connect with each other, we multiply our power by sharing our ideas. And we thereby grow our community exponentially.

Be a leader!

To read more from Joryn, check out her blog at OpenPalmLaw.com/blog

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