Back in October, I wrote a relatively candid blog post, “Note to My ‘Tribe’: Where are we headed, Anyway?”
And as our mutual friend, Seth says, every tribe needs a leader:
The next frontier of marketing is in leading groups of people who are working together to get somewhere.
I concur. So I’m guessing that “Leader” job now falls down to me.
Don’t get too excited. I’m not Gandhi, I’m just a cartoonist in West Texas with a few crazy ideas up my sleeve. I find the prospect of leading a “tribe” a bit daunting, to be honest.
Leadership does not exist in a vacuum, you need somewhere to actually lead your tribe to. Moses had the Land of Milk & Honey. MLK had The Promised Land. Thomas Jefferson had the newly-formed United States. Putin has a strong and proud Russia. Doc Searls has The Cluetrain. Steve Clayton and his friends within Microsoft have The Blue Monster.
Me? I have no idea. Like I said, I’m just a cartoonist…
The good news is, to lead a tribe you don’t necessarily have to have a promised land, a utopian vision, or a new world order to lead a tribe. You simply need what my other great marketing friend, Mark Earls calls “The Purpose-Idea”, which as a bona fide Social Object, is THE REASON why people are joining together in the first place.
I’ve been telling my clients for years now, if you’re going to have a following, a community, a “tribe”, it can’t just be about you and your lovely product. It’s got to be about something higher than, and beyond… yourself.
What is true for them is, yes, also true for me. Like I told my good friend, James Governor on Twitter the other day,
If I’m to lead a “Tribe”, it needs to be for MUCH better reasons than “Please buy my lithographs, they’re very nice etc.”
Or my original drawings. Or my book. Or my consulting services. Or my speaking gigs. Or whatever.
I’m happy to report, Seth left a very kind remark in the comments:
Ask us something hard, Hugh!
Your mission is clear. You are leading us where we want to go. You are pushing us to demand the possible, not to accept the status quo. In an extraordinarily direct and passionate way, you push yourself (and us) to look at what we do honestly and to remove the bullshit and get down to what matters.
That’s where I want to go, anyway.
When I was eighteen, just after I had finished my final exams at high school, I went out and got my first real job. Trainee bartender at Whigham’s Wine Bar, Edinburgh, Scotland. I loved that job; I kept it every summer for four years. The guy who hired me, Nick Henderson, was a great man.
Since then I have been on the same, unending quest: To find “Meaningful Work”.
“Meaningful” is like “Creative”; its definition is a subjective call. I can’t tell you what’s meaningful to you. Nor can you do the same with me. All we can do is agree that somewhere deep within all of us, the hunger to find it is real.
My blog for the last eight years has been a mish-mash of all sorts of different things. Cartoons. Selling prints. Marketing 2.0. The Global Microbrand. “Creativity”.
Whatever. No matter what topic I was blethering on about that day, this blog has always been driven by the same thing that has always driven me. Finding meaningful work.
I’ve come close to finding it a couple of times. It’s never easy. It’s always elusive. I often wish that weren’t the case, but it is. Sorry.
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