Reflection on a Video “The Tribes We Lead”

Reflectionon a Video: “The Tribes We Lead”

Reflectionon a Video: “The Tribes We Lead”

of the highlights

Thevideo “The tribes we lead” contains a TED talk that was given byan author and a marketer named Seth Godin on February 2009. Theoverall idea that Godin shares in the video is that true leaders liveto bring change, but their effectiveness in bringing the changedepends on the process they use. Godin argues that each leader triesto make big and permanent changes, but this can only be achieved ifthese leaders manage to connect with their community, instead of theconventional approach of connecting with professionals. From thetalk, Godin analyzes three key models that leaders can use to spreadtheir ideas. The first model is called the factory model that focuseson the use of efficient machines and an increase in employee wages.The second model is called the television model, which requires alarge mouthpiece and a lot of money to spread the idea. Thetelevision model is mainly achieved through mass marketing, whichinvolves the use of advertising to push ordinary ideas to the people.The last model is the tribe model, which involves the spread of ideasby connecting people with those ideas. The tribe model is the latestframework that is being facilitated by the internet. Godin arguesthat the people form tribes around their work, religion, andcommunity.

Personal/ Interpretive

Fromthe talk, it is definite that God in is trying to discourage modernleaders from using the conventional approaches in spreading ideas andstart focusing on the latest and most effective ways of getting theirideas across. Godin advocates for the use of the tribes model whilediscouraging the use of factory model and the television model. Thisis because ideas are spread faster and more effectively when theleader managers to select and use a model that facilitates theconnection between the ideas and the community. In this case, thetribe model, which is based on the use of the internet, is the solemodels that can help leaders establish the connection between ideasand the people within seconds.

Inaddition, Godin’s talk support’s the idea that true leadershipand the spread of good ideas does not necessarily depend on theamount of money or material resources that one uses, but it is allabout people and the capacity to connect people and ideas. This isthe main reason why the popular television model has been ineffectivein spreading ideas because it is facilitated using money andprofessionals, instead of focusing on people who form the tribes.Although Godin does not seem to oppose the use of TV advertisementsor the mass marketing openly, it is clear that he believes that theinternet can help leaders find people with specific interests betterthan any other model can do.

Moreover,Godin believes that all leaders exist to bring change. From the flowof ideas in the talk, it is evident that all leaders seek to defeatthe status quo, but their effectiveness in doing so depends on theprocess they use. The most successful leaders bring change byconnecting with people who are motivated and form a movement thateventually make change a reality in the society. Although all leadershave common goals (including challenging the status quo and buildinga culture), the possibility of achieving these goals depends on themodel that each leader selects.

Critical/ analysis

Godin’sidea that leaders are constantly looking for ways of challenging thestatus quo is consistent with the notion that change is a process andnot an event. Change as a process starts with one leader whoinfluences people with a passion, who then form a movement to bringthe desired change in place. This is illustrated in the video thestory of the establishment of the “no-kill city” where theinitiator of the idea of adopting stray dogs and cats instead ofkilling them shared the idea with ordinary people who had a passion,instead of sharing it with professionals. This indicates thatleadership is not about authority, but the influence that one has andthe ability to leverage that influence for some cause irrespective ofthe nature of the cause (Goins, 2009).

AlthoughGodin seems to support the idea that the primary role of leaders isto tighten the tribes, a statement that leaders are not changing thecurrent status quo if they are not upsetting someone gives amisleading picture of the concept of leadership. The statementdepicts leadership as a process that can only be achieved byupsetting a section of the tribe or the community. However, trueleadership is a process that involves the creation of an inspiringvision, motivating members of the community to engage with thevision, and managing the delivery of that vision (Manktelow, 2015).Therefore, true leaders do not necessarily bring change by upsettingpeople, but they seek to inspire them by showing them the need forchange. Although the process of change might face some resistance,this does not mean that the number of people upset by the change isthe key measure of a successful change.

Godin’sdescription of how leaders are able to establish the movements thatbrings change that is bigger than the leaders supports the idea thatthe role of leaders is not to implement that change, but to motivatethe tribes to bring that change (Manktelow, 2015). He gives anexample of Hugo Chavez, who chose to lead people, but did not inventthe lower as well as the middle classes. This information isimportant because it creates a distinction between he roles of theleader and followers.

Creative/ Application

Thereare two major insights that one can get from the Godin’s talk.First, one need to avoid being authoritative when interacting withother people or when at the place of work. From the talk, change isbrought about through connections that are established among membersof the tribe, and not through power or money. Therefore, suitableinteractions do not require the authority, but the connections amongpeers or workmates in order to create an environment for sharingideas. Secondly, good leaders communicate with other people with theobjective of inspiring them, instead of making themselves centers ofattention. Good leaders do not communicate to build their image, butto motivate members of the community to bring the change that theybelieve is necessary for the community.

Inconclusion, Godin’s talk supports the idea of change, but challengeleaders to change the conventional methods to implementing changes intheir communities. The use of the tribe model is effective inspreading the idea of change because it helps leaders in connectingmembers of the community from different locations within a shortperiod. The roles of leaders are to initiate the idea of change andinspire tribes or members of the community to implement the change.


Godin,S. (2009). The tribes we lead. TEDTalks.Retrieved August 9, 2015, from

Goins,J. (2009). Lessons learned from Seth Godin’s Tribes: A review.Adventuresin Mission.Retrieved August 9, 2015, from

Manktelow,J. (2015). Whatis leadership?London: Mind Tools.