Foundation for Change – Tribe DOT

Editor’s Note

Interactive #2 outlined The Change Consultancy’s F.PIE™ Stage One: Change Goals processes. However, we pause before moving on to outline our Stage Two: Planning processes in Interactive #4 and Interactive #5.

Occasionally, organisations whether expanding SMEs, new divisions or overhauled departments of bigger entities, require a process that embraces the whole group, not just part. For example, enhancing employee engagement and commitment may be an explicit requirement of the change project.

In such circumstances, a Foundation for Change process that we refer to as Tribe™ could come into play. In this article, Steve Jones BSc MSc, Director of The Change Consultancy and author of Tribe™, describes the First Stage of the process. A description of the second and third stages will appear in later editions of Interactive.

Tribe: Three Stage Process™

Stage 3: Supercharging Our Tribe (SOT)
Stage 2: Connecting Our Tribe (COT)
Stage 1: Directing Our Tribe (DOT)

Why Tribe?

A tribe is a close-knit group with common goals, beliefs, values and traditions. Being in a tribe connects and galvanises those who belong, i.e. its tribes-people. The tribe and its tribes-people act as one entity; everything tribes-people do is for the good of the tribe, everything the tribe does is for the benefit of its tribes-people. This can be expressed in the form of an equation; T = O + PC (Tribe = Organisation + Positive Culture)

In contrast, where organisations and their employees act as separate entities, their focus is on the pursuit of separate goals, principally financial gain. This also can be expressed in the form of an equation; T = O + NC (Tribe = Organisation + Negative Culture)

Why is Tribe Important?

In 2017 The Energy Project published its study of employee engagement. Disappointingly, it was concluded that, in general, people at work were neither motivated nor inspired by their jobs. The following research outcomes were offered in support:

  • Only 34% of employees felt a strong connection with their organisation’s mission
  • Only 37% of employees were satisfied with their work circumstances
  • Only 54% of employees felt energised by their job.

If organisations are prepared to embrace The Change Consultancy Tribe™ approach, there is a greater likelihood of a win-win. By establishing a common view of direction and purpose, employees are likely to feel more connected and more energised to give their commitment to bringing about the goals of the organisation.

A Cautionary Tale: The Lion King

The Lion King is essentially a cautionary tale in three parts. It opens with King Mufasa as lord of all he surveys – his Tribe. The characters live in harmony. There is cohesion, with members of the Tribe all sharing the same values and beliefs, which serve as the criteria for entry into the Tribe. All members of the Tribe know its direction (path to success). All members know intimately their roles within the Tribe.

In the second part, King Mafusa dies. His natural heir is his son, Simba. Alas, the throne is seized by Scar, his evil uncle, who manages to scapegoat Simba in the process, and thus ensure Simba flees (for his life). Eventually, the evil Scar’s regime falters; there is confusion about the direction of the Tribe. Also, cohesion diminishes, and there is confusion about the roles that Tribe members should play.

In the third and final part, Simba assumes his rightful place on the throne. He unifies the Tribe by restoring the values and beliefs of the Tribe’s members, resetting direction and confirming the roles to be played by the membership. We have come full circle, to witness the Kingdom thriving once again.

What do we learn from this cautionary tale? For a Tribe, an organisation, to flourish, all must act with the same intentions and pull in the same direction. Shared values and beliefs must be established within the Tribe. If all are aligned with the Tribe’s goals, success becomes more probable.

Stage 1: Directing Our Tribe (DOT)

The principal requirement for Tribes-people is to fully understand the Tribe’s direction. Questions such as the following must be answered:

  • Who are we?
  • Why do we exist?
  • What is our purpose?

The Tribe’s direction must be founded on a collective Vision; something to which all aspire and has deep meaning for its Tribes-people.

Measurable targets are required to ensure the Tribe stays on course. This is the Tribe’s Mission. It has to push the abilities of the Tribes-people, which can only be accomplished with their involvement.

To develop and maintain everyday behaviour, where decisions and actions must be in line with the Tribe’s Mission, a Daily Focus is necessary. The purpose of Daily Focus is twofold: to motivate Tribes-people about the Tribe’s direction, to act as a compass that guides Tribes-people to follow the most appropriate path to success.

DOT Map: England Rugby Union’s 2003 World Cup Winning Team (Tribe)

  • Vision: Beyond Number One (in the world)
  • Mission: To win the 2003 World Cup (host country = Australia)
  • Daily Focus: T-CUP (Thinking Clearly Under Pressure)

England won the 2003 World Cup, the first and only Northern Hemisphere team to do so. The acronym T-Cup really did inform everyday actions and decisions. And not just on the pitch; support staff were challenged to innovate, hence the appearance of shirts that clung to the body.

However, T-CUP’s most visible expression was the Jonny Wilkinson extra time drop goal that ultimately secured the win in the final against Australia. Australia’s forward pack was powerless to stop the relentless march of England’s forward pack to an area of the pitch that gave Jonny the best opportunity of scoring a drop goal 26 seconds before the final whistle. It was an action they had rehearsed during thousands of hours of practice and in previous test matches.

The Vision – Beyond Number One – merits mention. England achieved the world Number One position well before 2003. To counter complacency, the whole England set-up (Tribe) pledged itself to continuous improvement in every area of endeavour.

Beliefs and Values

Beliefs and values are key ingredients of the DOT Maps of successful organisations (Tribes). Indeed, they can be viewed as forming the DNA of organisations. Casting a spotlight on values and beliefs – as the DOT Map does – enables understanding of what governs the decision making and behaviour of people in the organisation (Tribes-people).

The underlying process is depicted below:

DOT Map & Tribal Challenge Itinerary in Action: DOT Map

The Change Consultancy recently applied the Tribe Stage One DOT approach to a new SME (digital marketing/media). Following an in-depth two-hour interview with the Managing Director, to understand the business and its goals, a half-day workshop comprising all employees and the MD, as a participant, was held (all Tribes-people in the room). The aim of the workshop was to debate and build the company’s (Tribe’s) unique DOT Map and its Tribal Challenge Itinerary.

All present were strongly encouraged to contribute. Our consultant, Steve, described the atmosphere as one of deep discussion, creative abrasion, an abundance of energy, and fun. A substantial quantity of information was generated which highlighted the company’s DNA; the unique blend of beliefs and values required to govern the behaviours and decision making of its Tribes-people. This gathering of Tribes-people agreed the company’s Vision, Mission and Daily Focus. Their journey, to become one entity, has begun in earnest.

DOT Map for Chetaru (Anonymous)

DOT Map & Tribe Challenge Itinerary in Action: Tribe Challenge Itinerary

Complementing the DOT Map is the Tribe Challenge Itinerary (TCI), the purpose of which is to guide the activities of the company (Tribe). The challenges selected by the Tribes-people relate to the already-defined Vision, Mission and Daily Focus. In doing so, the Tribes-people lock in the concept of ‘living by the DNA’, that is, adopting the values and beliefs already identified earlier (in the workshop), which commences the journey to increase the cohesion of the company’s employees (Tribes-people).

Tribe Challenge Itinerary for Chetaru (Anonymous)

Discussion: What do you think about Tribe™? How do you feel about Tribe™? Does the
mix of sports and business work examples for you? Have you experienced a
Tribe-like change? How helpful was it?


The Energy Project (2017)

Interactive builds The Change Consultancy’s library of articles about organisation change. It is edited by Tom Lindsay who is also a major contributor. Our heading of Interactive is a deliberate choice, because The Change Consultancy is keen to engage with its audience. Each article contains Discussion points. If you wish to comment on this article, then we cordially invite you to get in touch with Steve at or Tom at