Home > What's in my head now? > Why “Tribe” Is The New “Job Security”

Why “Tribe” Is The New “Job Security”


One of the only blogs I subscribe to and read every time there is a new post; I’m honored to have Agent of Change, Josh Allan Dykstra, guest blog.

One of the most interesting things about the way work is evolving in the emerging world is how much of it seems to be a return to things we used to do before.

And I don’t mean “1950’s” before — it’s more like “50 A.D.” before.

The hyper-connection of the globe is having a fascinating effect on the way we approach relationships in the marketplace. It almost seems that the more connectivity we have, the more we become aware of a lack of real, true connection.

Brian Dunn, the CEO of Best Buy, once poetically remarked:

“An important principle that is often overlooked inside the boardrooms and offices where business decisions are made [is this]: The world was built on relationships between human beings.”

The more our digital networks expand, the more we rely on our “community” — our tribe, our people (whoever they may be; they may very well be “virtual friends”) — to recommend to us products, services, jobs, etc. The informational overload “out there” is just too much for us to do anything else. We need to find a manageable way to process life, and for most of us this means retreating to a natural group around us we trust enough to give us recommendations and suggestions.

At the same time this “tribal redux” is happening in our personal lives, we are also experiencing a transition in business. We are migrating away from old-school hierarchy and full-time structured jobs to the more fluid, organic, and virtual sphere of contract workers.

Much has been made of these two ideas, separately. But when we start to explore how these movements converge, we see something alarming. Namely, we see this: “Job security” as it used to exist is going extinct. It will be replaced by the strength and vitality of our personal network/tribe.

The deluge of constant input competing for our attention will only get worse, which will force us to rely even more on our personal networks. This increase in competition will also be reflected in the marketplace. You think it’s tough to find a job now without a connection on the inside? Wait another decade and see.

Thankfully, it will be a number of years before this transition is complete and what we used to think of as “job security” is gone forever, but the toothpaste is out of the tube. The days of being able to spend 35 years in a singular white collar sweatshop are long-gone, and they ain’t comin’ back.

But the bigger question is… do we want those days back?

I don’t think we do. What’s coming might be scary, but that’s because it’s different, not because it’s not BETTER.

Get ready for the new world of work!

(There’s a terrific article on how to build your network here.)

Josh Allan Dykstra is a consultant/author/speaker and agent of change. It is his mission to change the world by helping organizations become more vibrant and healthy places to work. His eclectic background spans Fortune 500 companies like Apple, Starbucks, and Viacom/CBS to startups, nonprofits, and government agencies. His new book, The Mosaic Mind: Understanding the Emerging Mentality That Will Destroy or Propel Your Business, will be released in 2011. Connect with him online at joshallan.com.

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  1. March 7, 2011 at 11:57 am

    Excellent post by a brilliant mind Josh!

  2. March 7, 2011 at 2:13 pm

    Agreed. At risk of oversimplifying, it is about connecting with others. Perhaps, it is not enough to simply connect, but to do so in a genuine way.

    • March 7, 2011 at 7:43 pm

      I agree. Before social media became “trendy”, people would always ask how I “stayed connected with so many people” and my response was, “I have a genuine love of people as I believe I can learn something from each of them”. It will be interesting to see who and who is not genuine as the world transforms. As cliche as this sounds, I believe “the cream will rise to the top”…those that are genuine will rise and the rest will be seen at some point as “posers”.

  3. March 7, 2011 at 6:47 pm

    Great stuff here, Josh. I couldn’t agree more. I know a lot of young people in politics and non-profit work – for many years I wondered how on earth they were *always* employed. I finally realized it was because they were really great at building a tribe around themselves and made sure everyone in the tribe knew just what kind of performer they were.

    • March 7, 2011 at 7:41 pm

      I love what Josh wrote because I’m “one of those people” – Megan – that you are talking about. Based on my ‘immature’ behavior in years past ( ; I probably should have been fired numerous times; let me re-phrase – I should have been fired numerous times; but having relationships with every Director, VP, and C level member had it’s benefits.

    • March 8, 2011 at 4:30 pm

      Yeah, I think to a certain extent this idea has always been true, and it’s certainly more noticeable in some industries than others. Entertainment, for example, is almost exclusively about having a tribe — almost to the point that talent doesn’t even matter. (This is, obviously, not ideal either.) If organizations can find a way to balance a healthy view of people’s strengths with more “tribal vetting processes” I think we’ll be making progress!

  4. March 10, 2011 at 4:14 pm

    This is like my third time finding your homepage. I always love the content and the way you write. Very smooth and instructive at the same time.

  1. March 27, 2011 at 6:01 am
  2. March 11, 2012 at 7:05 am

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