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Submitted by Greg Kaupp on 23 November 2011

Tribal Leadership and the Microsoft Dynamics NAV Community

Several months ago we began taking a serious look at our company culture to assess if we were creating the kind of company we had always intended to create or if we just suffered from wishful thinking. We began studying a book entitled Tribal Leadership, by Dave Logan which offered tools to assess a company's current cultural stage as well as a framework for helping a company change its culture one cultural stage at a time.

Tribal Leadership book coverTribal Leadership describes a company's culture according to 5 cultural stages. The first cultural stage is called "Life sucks" and thankfully doesn't characterize too many people in a corporate setting. This stage is more commonly found in those that feel completely marginalized from society and who fundamentally believe that life has nothing to offer.

The second cultural stage is called "My life sucks". This stage is much more prevalent in a typical corporate setting and might also be called the "apathetic majority". For these people they believe that life does have something more to offer but unfortunately not for them.

Moving to the next stage we discover those that say "I'm great and you're not". This should sound familiar given our almost constant societal focus on individual performance and achievement. It should come as no surprise that this is where most of the corporate world lives and in fact is often seen as the highest level of achievement. How many times have you heard I want "A" players playing with "A" players? It's ironic that the people making these statements always see themselves as the pinnacle of individual achievement.

The next cultural stage can be described as "We're great and they're not." Think of the best teams you've ever been a part of where the focus shifted from individual achievement to what the team could accomplish together. While this is much less common in our world I hope that we have all experienced the pure thrill of being part of something larger than ourselves where a team accomplished something far greater than any individual could have done on their own.

At this point you might think that there can't possibly be a higher cultural stage to achieve than the Stage 4 culture described by a world class team working effectively to beat the competition. However in Dave Logan's research he discovered a Stage 5 cultural phenomenon where a group or tribe no longer felt they were competing with individuals or other groups but rather they were competing with the possible. It is rare to find examples of this kind of transcendent culture but I believe we have examples of this even in our own Microsoft Dynamics NAV (Navision) community.

I think back to the efforts of Dale and Mary Lanham, Carrie Saunders, John Kleb, Sheldon Kralstein, Rick and Julia Baxter, Tom Falteich, John Verdon, John Stuckey, and Diane Fox in bringing together the Microsoft Dynamics NAV (Navision) Partner Community around the annual Directions Conference. A similar community driven effort was started by Todd Bergeson and Mike Ball to form the NAV Users Group (NAVUG). It just goes to show what can truly be accomplished when we shift our focus from competing with individuals or organizations to uncovering what we can accomplish together. I believe that we have only scratched the surface of what the Microsoft Dynamics NAV (Navision) Community can accomplish together.

I hope that all of you will take the time to assess not only your personal cultural stage but the cultural stage of your company. Here is a link to the Cultural Meter Survey that can be taken for free on the Tribal Leadership site. For those of you that are intrigued as I am by how we create great companies I'd love to talk with you further and please check out Dave Logan's book at

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Tue, 11/29/2011 - 15:27

Love this! I always thought that we are Stage 5. Competing against what is possible. Posted @ Wednesday, November 23, 2011 11:24 AM by Deena

Cool ideas! :) You have just increased my to-read list by one more book. Posted @ Wednesday, November 23, 2011 12:35 PM by Dynamics NAV Enthusiast

Thanks for the comment about Tribal Leadership. Glad you found it helpful. Dave Logan, co-author, Tribal Leadership Posted @ Friday, November 25, 2011 9:40 PM by Dave Logan