The Tribe Does Not Belong to You

That’s right. It’s not your tribe. If you are a leader, this message is for you:

The tribe does not belong to you. You don’t get to tell the members what to do… or manipulate them for your own purpose.

They might, however, if you are lucky, listen to you and consider what you say.

Presidential hopeful Sen. Barack Obama, D-Ill., speaks with supporters on the front steps of their house during a neighborhood canvas in Des Moines, Iowa, on Saturday, Oct. 13, 2007. (AP Photo/Kevin Sanders)

If you tell your story, a story that the tribe can relate to — having a sense of togetherness (not apart) or relatedness … you might just get lucky: they’ll interpret your words in a way that they believe will help them move the mission of the tribe forward.

Barack Obama on campaign trail — displaying empathy

Invest some time with them, have conversations with them, they’ll show you what they want and what they need; you gain empathy with them, you understand their story, their context, their world view…and you’ll get to serve them…again…

and again.

Barack Obama — in his DNC speech, the speech that paved way to his ascend to presidency — told a story of himself, told a story of the American people — and why his story of himself is relevant to them, and then a story for the American people to act for the greater good — an appeal to hope.

Barack Obama 2004 — the speech that made him President: He has articulated a simple three-step narrative for action: the story of self, the story of us, and the story of now.