Something To Believe In - Origins of Lead Change Part 2

This is part 2 of a series on the history of the Lead Change Group outlined by examining the book Tribes: We Need You To Lead Us by Seth Godin. Check out the previous post here. For all the posts click here.

"Tribes are about faith - about belief in an idea and in a community." Seth Godin

On page 9 in Tribes: We Need You To Lead Us by Seth Godin, the author explains how tribes form around belief in an idea. "It turns out that belief happens to be a brilliant strategy."

Guy Kawasaki wrote a post about how to use Twitter in late 2008 or early 2009. If you remember or even knew about Twitter back then, the big joke was that people were sharing what they were eating for lunch. Guy suggested a couple of guidelines about Twitter that made perfect sense to me. First, we should be about something. Pick a topic, any topic, and then make that the focus. And second, focus on the topic, not on merely what I say about it.

So leadership became my topic and I started blogging, tweeting and interacting about leadership. I started reading what others wrote about leadership and I tweeted and re-tweeted their posts. Guy suggested that your own content be 10% or less of what you plugged online. So I made sure at least 10 of my tweets were about other people's posts. I read Michael McKinney (@LeadershipNow) and Dan McCarthy (@greatleadership). I found Susan Mazza (@SusanMazza) and Kelly Ketelboeter (@KetelboeterPR), Art Petty (@ArtPetty), Wally Bock (@WallyBock), and Gwyn Teatro (@GwynT). I found some other people too, some long gone and some phony.

The real "leadership" people, like those above and many others I've met since, were doing similar things but working as individuals. The problem (moving the global leadership needle) looked bigger than something I could successfully address as an individual, working alone. Real change would take a movement; an army of leaders willing to address the need for a new leadership model. Individually, moving the needle looked impossible. Only an army would have a chance.

On Twitter, I could find a small army of people committed to making a difference about leadership. Sure, there are people who are more interested in promoting themselves, and there have been may who tried Twitter but couldn't remain engaged.  But there were (and continues to be) a growing number of people sincere about addressing a global leadership problem; and one that Godin was writing about.

"So here we are. We live in a world where we have the leverage to make things happen, the desire to do work we believe in and a marketplace that is begging us to be remarkable. And yet, in the middle of these changes, we still get stuck." Seth Godin, Tribes

He goes on to say that the status quo and our systems and habits make us stuck. We're stuck in a "factory" which he describes as any system that forces us to reinforce the status quo. The antidote is people who believe in what they're doing. He calls them heretics.

"Heretics are the new leaders. The ones who challenge the status quo, who get out in front of their tribes, who create movements." Seth Godin, Tribes

I don't want to simply be a heretic. I want to encourage leadership heretics.

Lead Change would be something different; not your mama's leadership group. Our first face-to-face meeting, Leaderpalooza, we even described as "not your mama's leadership conference." We went so far as to claim the intention "instigating a leadership revolution." We didn't start the revolution, but many of us recognized we were all in it. So we decided to band together.

Are you a heretic?  If not, why not? Why not believe in something and invest your best effort, your greatest energy and your resources in the pursuit of a great idea? Pick your biggest idea and go for it. Give it all you've got.

Lead Change Group is based on the ideas:

  1. Anyone can lead. Leadership is an attitude, a decision.
  2. You don't need permission. You simply need to start.
  3. Your greatest influence comes from who you are, not what title you have.
  4. The world needs you to bring your best self and make a positive difference.
  5. Others believe in your leadership if you start with yourself.
  6. If you're going to do something, do it with everything you have.

We didn't invent these ideas. But we're committed to helping each other advance them. We want to instigate a character-based leadership revolution, one person at a time. What about you? Are you a heretic? Why? What are you a heretic for?

 Photo @ Timothy Boomer iStockPhoto

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