Why you need a tribe in business?

“A tribe is a group of people connected to one another, connected to a leader, and connected to an idea. For millions of years, human beings have been part of one tribe or another. A group needs only two things to be a tribe: a shared interest and a way to communicate.”

Seth Godin — Tribes: We Need You to Lead Us

John Karagounis- MD & CEO, The CEO Circle

John Karagounis- MD & CEO, The CEO Circle

Why is it that we can feel isolated even when we are surrounded by people? We might have family and friends around us or live in the middle of a big city, yet we might find it hard to communicate with them or to find things in common.

It is the connections with others that we value the most and this is where our tribes come in. Our tribes are filled with people that we identify with and who share common interests. We can find them in all sorts of places if we care to look. For example:

  • Sporting teams and exercise classes

  • Health issue support groups

  • Book clubs

  • Musical bands and choirs

  • Cultural groups

Tribes can come in all shapes and sizes, but the best ones create opportunities for members to share experiences, learn from each other and provide support to others.

To get the most benefit from a tribe, you need to show a genuine interest in other members and learn their stories. Sometimes, the people you think you won’t have much in common with turn out to be the ones you can relate to on many levels.

You also need to be prepared to help others when you can without expecting anything in return and to show true gratitude when others help you. Otherwise, you could end up burning your bridges and being more isolated than before.

Benefits of peer networks in business

One type of tribe that has tremendous benefits for those in business is the peer network. In his podcast interview on The Mentor List, John Karagounis, the CEO and owner of The CEO Circle — Australia’s leading exclusive peer group for business leaders — spoke of how leaders can turn to other leaders to help them develop both personally and professionally.

Expanding your comfort zone

Part of the challenge of being at the top of the food chain in an organisation is that people will often tell you only what you want to hear or expect you to be the fixer of all problems. To deal with this, it is essential to have a trusted network of mentors outside your usual environment to run things by. People who will tell you not necessarily what you want to hear, but what you need to hear. As Karagounis says:

“The most successful leaders of people these days are the ones that surround themselves with people that are different to them. People that are actually going to challenge them. Challenge their opinion, strategies, et cetera and push them out of their boundaries.”

Learning through diversity

Having the right mix of people in your peer group is essential to its success. If everyone has a similar cultural or work background, you’ll miss out on the learning opportunities that come through diversity.

Look around your group to find the people you’d like to get to know better. Some might have an interesting history you’d like to know more about. Some might be great at inspiring new ideas. Others might be a wonderful source of information and resources.

Sharing different perspectives in a supportive and trusting environment can shed new light on issues and stimulate deep and rich discussions.

Commitment to the group

Peer groups rely on trust and confidentiality. Before sharing their concerns, fears, ideas and challenges each member has to be confident these won’t be shared outside the group.

“The guys who really built companies were guys who showed up and shared what was deeply going on with them, the things that troubled them, the things that got in the way. The group was there to support them on their journey and become their brothers. We created some best friends. I know that to this day.”

From Patrick Henry’s interview with Larry Kesslin, The Value of Mastermind Peer Groups for CEOs and Business Owners, for the Medium website.

All members also need to show commitment to the group. It’s not enough to just turn up occasionally and expect help from the others. You need to be there for the other members as well.

When you are caught up in running an organisation, it can be easy to ignore opportunities to expand your network. However, Karagounis argues that this is the time you need to actively build relationships that will last way beyond your current role.

 “You have to find time to connect with people because you don’t want to find yourself when you are outside of a role … that you now have to make phone calls and connect with people because you have a need. That’s not what it’s about. It’s when you don’t have a need that you need to be making connections and helping them because they are the ones who are going to be with you and have your back when you don’t have a role … You have to give to receive.”

Looking after yourself

Many leaders learn the benefits of self-care by learning what happens when other group members don’t prioritise their personal needs. For example, if someone has become so attached to their role, they lose sight of their own identity when in between roles. Others may find the demands of their role are so strong their relationships or physical or mental health may suffer if they are not careful.

As a group, members can share preventative and coping tips for these situations and offer help before others reach crisis point.

Where to find your business tribe

Peer groups or “business tribes” can also be called mastermind groups or peer advisory groups. There is no one model that fits all groups. Some are structured and formal. Some are quite informal. Some are large and some are small.

Pplaces you can search for your tribe include:

  • Professional associations

  • Local councils

  • Listings on Meetup.com

  • Online groups and forums, such as those on LinkedIn

  • Word of mouth

The beauty of business tribes is you don’t have to be limited to one in your lifetime. You may need to investigate a few before you find ones that suit your needs and preferences, but you never need to feel isolated again.

You might also like our articles:

LinkedIn: The best networking return on investment you can get

Why self-improvement needs to begin on the inside

Healthy ways to avoid burnout at work

How to build a mentally healthy team in a growing business


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John Karagounis is a passionate thought leader, celebrated author and keynote speaker, engaging with some of the world’s brightest minds in hundreds of exclusive, confidential forums around the country. His ability to connect with people and his commitment and determination to help make a difference led John to The CEO Circle, which he later purchased, and he has not looked back since.

Hear Karagounis’ inspiring story and his top tips for becoming the best version of yourself as a leader by listening to his podcast interview on The Mentor List. He is bound to leave his mark on you, too.

Kick start your personal journey to success from the conversations David has with his inspirational guests on The Mentor List. www.mentorlist.com.au

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