I've been listening to the audio book of Seth Godin's Tribes. His main thesis: that leading Tribes is the most effective way to promote yourself and make change is indisputable.
But, let's say you've never led a tribe? You've always wanted to because you know deep in your heart there is a better way of doing things. What will be the trigger that gets you to lead a tribe?
There is no trigger.
Tribe leading like everything else doesn't start in a vacuum.
Tribe leading can start in middle school or earlier. My eight year old plays in a very non-competitive Little League. He's not the captain. But, he's observing the coach and he's starting to defend and sometimes disagree with how the coach is managing. He is a tribe-leader-in-training.
My 11 year old is participating in a Tribe on-line. She's IMing and iChatting with a majority of her friends. Sometimes just to check in and sometimes to discuss and converse on party planning, school work, and the ever important issue of what top goes with what bottom - she's practicing what a Tribe leader has to do... listening and providing feedback.
Growing up, my tribe was in the Theater.
Acting in plays in middle school was a terrific rehearsal for starting a tribe. I could see how the teachers organized us to work together and create something that only existed on the page before we started rehearsing.
All in all I was involved in over 30 productions between high school and college. I led six of them.
Looking back, only two of the shows I directed were successfully realized - but I learned from all of them.
Tribe leaders know that success and failure, winning and losing are a part of leading Tribes.
Based on what I learned in school, it was a natural extension for me to choose a career where I am leading tribes on behalf of clients every day.
If you're out of school - there are still ways to be a part of the farm system of tribe leading:
get on message boards, comment with persuasive arguments on blogs and see who takes up your point of view or more importantly disagrees with you. Outside of the net, start a small project: fund raising for a charity or start a local theater group - you'll be surprised where it leads.
How did you start your learning the art of the Tribe leader when you were young?