The benefits of creating thriving tribes


Over the last 5 years I have been obsessed with researching proven mood enhancement strategies for individuals. After writing the best-selling BACK FROM THE BRINK book series, and interviewing over 5,000 people who have overcome adversity, this lead to me creating my Bounce Back & Thrive program which includes “10 things science says will make you thrive”.

I’ve always suspected that tribes have moods as well

In my corporate career as a Marketing Manager for Johnson and Johnson, working in recruitment, outplacement, and culture change with Morgan & Banks, and finally as Joint Managing Director of AT Kearney Executive Search, I’ve always suspected that work tribes have moods as well. A client, the CEO of a large insurance company, kindly gave me a copy of the book Tribal Leadership, and this confirmed that suspicion. Thriving Tribes strive to optimize performance AND collective mood.

Tribes are the key to a thriving organisation

In their book Tribal Leadership the authors David Logan et al, show that every organisation is really a group of small tribes, made up of 20-150 people. The author’s work with over 24,000 employees shows that tribes are the basic building block of any organisation. Their influence is greater than teams, entire companies, and the CEO.

Tribes decide how much work is going to get done, and of what quality, and whether a leader is going to flourish. This work has shown that tribes can be categorized into 5 stages: “Life sucks”, “My life sucks”, “I’m great”, “We’re great”, and “Life’s great”, and distributed as per the graph. These stages are determined by the predominant behaviours and language used by the tribe.

Stage 4 – “We’re great” – is where extraordinary results occur. A leader can only take the tribe up one stage at a time and different strategies are required at each level, meaning it is essential to know your tribe’s current.

Change fatigue?

Year after year we continue to face massive challenges in the business environment. The changing economy continually introduces new hurdles. This constant change can bleed mood and motivation from employees.

Why positive mood is the only sustainable advantage? By the numbers:

220%: In BEYOND PERFORMANCE: How great organizations build ultimate competitive advantage, authors Scott Keller and Colin Price show that organisations that focus both on both positive employee mood AND performance have a 220% greater probability of being in the top quartile of profitability than those that focus on performance alone.

300%: Shawn Achor’s article Positive Intelligence in Jan-Feb 2012 HBR, shows that employees with a positive mood are 300% more creative, have on average 31% higher productivity, and their sales are 37% higher.

$1273: Low mood costs – depression and anxiety disorders were shown in the Medibank report SICK AT WORK to total 34% of all lost productivity and are estimated to cost $1273 for every employee, every year, due to presenteeism and absenteeism – 87% of your employees and clients know someone close to them with depression or an anxiety disorder.

For organisations that operate in the superannuation, workers compensation, and income protection insurance sectors, the liability of mood disorders is accelerating.

The Thriving Tribe Process™

There is no one size fits all approach, but the process usually follows these steps:

  1. Goal – deciding where you want to go
  2. Reality – where are you and why – via research etc.
  3. Options – evaluating the alternative levers
  4. Will – commit to action
  5. Tactics – when and how?
  6. Habits – what rituals will maintain change?

Want to know more?
If you would like to know more, please contact Sonja Firth – or call +612 8014 8867

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