“Tribes” Applied to Environmental Professionals

Tribes, Seth GodinTribes, by Seth Godin, describes how significant change can be implemented by groups of people connected to each other by an idea, goal, or conviction. A tribe. The tribe doesn’t have to be co-located. It only needs something to believe in, a leader, and a place to connect. While reading, I was struck at how much Tribes applies to environmental professionals and this blog.

Without realizing it, this blog has become a connecting point for the tribe of environmental professionals. We are often spread thin; not working directly with other environmental professionals. One of the reasons for the blog is to give environmental professionals a place to relate with others who are in a similar situation. To connect and inspire. These are important concepts in Godin’s Tribes.

I had already been thinking about and implementing most of the concepts Godin describes. Reading Tribes connected it together for me. Here’s a breakdown of some of Godin’s concepts and how they fit the lifestyle of environmental professionals and this blog.

1. Godin describes that the tribe needs something to believe in. To realize their work is much more satisfying than just getting a paycheck. People who like their jobs the most are the ones that do the best work, making the greatest impact, and changing the most.

Most of the environmental professionals I know realize that their work is important to creating environmentally healthier places to live and work. They enjoy the work and therefore are making an impact.

2. Godin states ways to improve a tribe.

  • Shared interest. Environmental professionals have that one covered.
  • A way to communicate. That is much easier today then even when the book was written. This blog is one more way for us all to connect.

The tribe can transform the shared interest into a passionate goal. This falls right in line with this blog. The people I’ve profiled here are very passionate about their work. They are willing to tell their stories because it excites them and they want to spread their message.

3. The book spends a lot of time on good leadership. Godin has the following sequence, which I liked. “How was your day? If your answer is “fine”, then I don’t think you were leading.

A day when I have taught an environmental training course, helped a facility improve it’s environmental health, or told a good environmental story (via video, in person, or blog), is a good day. It is much more than just a “fine” day.

4. This connects to another of Godin’s points. Give people stories they can tell themselves. People don’t believe what you tell them. But they believe what they tell themselves.

Environmental professionals need to be good storytellers. They need to educate and entertain to spread their message. Making personal connections via stories is a good way to get people on board.

5. Regarding growing the tribe, Godin states that you need to tighten the tribe. Don’t necessarily make it bigger. I use this blog to inform people outside the environmental field of the view from inside the field. But this blog is more powerful for those inside the field. It is a place for us all to connect through our similar stories and workplaces.

6. Here are Godin’s steps to creating a micromovement, along with how they apply to this blog.

  1. Publish a manifesto. Check. You can read the genesis of this blog here.
  2. Make it easy for your follower to connect to you. Twitter, FB, LinkedIn. If you look, I’m there.
  3. Make it easy for followers to connect with each other. Same as above and they can all connect on the Profiles page.
  4. Realize that money is not the point of the movement. There’s no money coming to this site, only those looking to be part of the tribe.
  5. Track your progress. Page hits and a growing list of people willing to tell good stories. The tribe is still growing.

The field of environmental professionals has many strong leaders in energy, sustainability, compliance, restoration, etc. Within the larger tribe, there is still a need for more connecting, more professionalism, more promotion of our causes and stories. That’s the point of this blog. I didn’t create it to be a leader of followers. I created it to provide the means to tell the stories of the tribe. If you’ve found us, you’re welcome to join us.