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Tribal Leadership

December 25, 2017

Tribal Leadership

As many of you know, I recently took a vacation to Mexico. My flight was at dawn and the airport was filled with the usual suspects, Jack Sparrow from Pirates of the Caribbean, several versions of Santa Claus, U of O Ducks fans, OSU Beavers fans and many many Seahawks fans. As a native Portlander, I didn't think much of it. Our city slogan is "Keep Portland Weird". We even have a network TV show called "Portlandia" dedicated to the quirks of Portland. My favorite joke when people ask me what it is like living here is, "It is normal for every day to feel like Halloween". The out of ordinary has become the ordinary and that is what makes it special.


When I landed in Oakland for my layover, I looked around and thought, "There are a lot of Ducks and Seahawks fans here". I asked my dad who is an avid Seahawks fan if today was game day and he promptly responded, "No, why?" I said, "Look around, everyone is swaggered out in game day apparel". He looked around and said, "Wow, I guess they must be die hard fans." I shrugged it off, got on the plane and flew into San Jose Cabo International airport.  


As we got off the plane and walked into customs, I looked around and there were even more fans. I no longer felt like I was going through customs but like I was in line to enter a football stadium. I pointed out the sea of fans to my sister and said, "It is almost as if the fans were sporting their swag similar to how gangs flash their logos in public.” It was crazy. It made me wonder, did anyone else noticed this same trend?


Throughout the week, I continued to think more and more about this strange behavior when it finally dawned on me that both teams are an example of Tribal Leadership. Like minded people come together to form a community. Wearing the swag apparel is a public recognition of what they support. Similar to how breast cancer survivors or their family and friends wear a pink ribbon, or how people once wore a yellow bracelet for prostate cancer and a purple ribbon for Parkinson's. These are all public examples showing the community or the tribes they support. When people band together and support a common cause it is amazing what can come from it.


My challenge for you this week is to look for opportunities for you to create community in your life. To help others feel included and a part of the team.

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