Tribes are not an end in themselves, but a means to an end – the end of providing value to its members.
To Pillage and Plunder!
If tribes correctly identify its active players and capture their true values, then each and every such player is a quality player.
Because we are warriors and pirates, not soldiers or sailors in a royal navy, and because we can’t be on-line all the time, making no mistakes, or not loosing any vessels or villages, is not a realistic expectation.
And there is no “correct tribe” to start with either. If it were, then it is not the job of leadership to decide what attack and defense tactics are essential. The tribe can answer all such questions. If there is only one right way, then “it is always cheaper to do it right the first time”.
And things aren’t perfect in these lawless tribal worlds (as if they are in world with laws ;-)) and we may do all the attacks right, only to discover we weren’t aiming at the right vessels (villages) or fleet (tribe).
The tribal process can destroy or produce value, and that’s why tribal economics is important. If we can not organize and improve our tribal processes in a way that works for most of its members, by using the strengths of individual members and value they seek, the politics or emotions of negotiating value (at every turn) will permeate the tribe and make it much harder.
And for finding what we can improve, we can look for the degree of congruence between what is said and what is done in (different clusters of) a tribe. Jerry Weinberg’s anthropological model of participant observation can be very useful for that:
Oblivious: “We don’t even know that we’re performing a tribal process” – a source of new ways.
Variable: “We do whatever we feel like at the moment” – and realize we may be out of our depth with somin.
Routine: “We follow our strategical and tactical routines (except when we panic)” – we experience dissatisfaction with too much variation, we need more cooperation.
Steering: “We choose among our strategical and tactical routines by the results they produce in this world” – experienced players lead when a variety of skills is required.
Anticipating: “We establish routines based on our past experience with them in previous worlds” – instead of reacting to instabilities, we anticipate them, and act in advance.
Congruent: “Everyone is involved in improving everything all the time” – a healthy perspective as foundation. You just gotta see it’s usefulness.
There are moments and contexts where we need a particular pattern more than others. Determining what we need when, and bringing our actions in alignment with what we say – walking our talk, I consider to be a sign of healthy tribal and player economics.