Saturday, January 23, 2021

Why We Need a Tribe, Part 3: How Do We Assess Possible Tribe Memebers?


In the first post in this series, I covered why modern society kinda makes our life sucky. In the second post, I covered the objective pros and cons of a Tribe as a social construct. In this post, I'll discuss OUR Tribe. Or at least my early vision of our Tribe.

Quick review - in yesterday's post, I mentioned what I called "pseudo-tribes", which are basically individuals or groups who use the collection of cognitive biases our brain uses to make sense of the world in order to exploit us in some way. The formula they use:

Elicit emotion -> Attach way to resolve emotion to group membership = making of a pseudo-tribe

We need to avoid this trap at all costs! The solution is simple. We just use logic, reason, and a scientific methodology to designing, building, and running the Tribe. Simple. Not easy.

The reason? No matter how hard we try, we're not totally objective. Even hard-core objective Logican/ Debaters like me are prone to the likelihood that emotion drives cognition. As such, and really effective Tribe probably needs a leadership team, not just one individual. This team needs to be science-minded (for objective analysis), diverse (to be able to really understand and empathize with each member of the Tribe's motivations, desires, skills, knowledge, experiences, goals, etc.), and be assertive enough to call each other out on their bullshit (as a check on emotional attachment to bad ideas or beliefs.) So that's how we prevent becoming a pseudo-tribe.

The Tribe Members

The value of a Tribe is a function of the members of a Tribe. It's important to carefully vet possible Tribe members to root out those who have a high probability of impeding the Tribe's effectiveness, or worse, sabotaging the entire Tribe. This is important because the idea of a Tribe will appeal to a lot of people who would be terrible Tribe members. Here's my hypothetical process developed from a lot of personal experiences, discussions with our Man Camp men's group, and with Brandon, one of our Tribe Founding Members.

The entire process involves asking a series of questions, explicitly or answered through observation of the potential member, to cull those who would be a poor fit. The next step would be to determine the ideal role they would play within the Tribe itself that. These remaining candidates would then go through a "prospect" period, followed by a "probationary" period. Finally, the Tribe would vote to add the potential member to the Tribe permanently. We would also need a mechanism to expel a member from the Tribe.

So what does this process look like?

The Questions

The goal with these is to figure out IF a prospective member is a good fit for the Tribe. Before we begin the process, we screen for obvious mental illnesses that are incompatible with the social dynamics of Tribal organization. Schizophrenia, dissociative identity disorder, severe panic disorder or severe depression, pretty much any of the personality disorders, etc. We would also screen for serious drug addictions for the same reasons.

The first question is absolutely necessary: Is this person trustworthy? If this person is admitted to the Tribe, can we trust them to act selflessly to support the individual members of the Tribe and the Tribe as a whole? Are they helpful, or are they selfish? Do they have a history of exploiting others? Do they have a history of committing property crimes? Do they understand and display the concept of honor? If a potential member passes this test, they move on. 

The second question: Is this person humble? Do they have a problem with ego? Do they think they are better than others? Do they have a superiority complex? How do they treat wait staff, retail employees, or others who serve them? Can they win with humility and lose with grace?

The third question: Is this person people-smart? Do they exhibit high emotional intelligence? Do they exhibit empathy and compassion? Can they manage interpersonal relationships well, or do they rub people the wrong way? 

The fourth question: Is this person hungry? Have they exhibited a desire to work tirelessly towards a goal by intrinsically motivating themselves? Basically, this weeds out the lazy folks. 

The fifth question: Is this person open-minded and curious? Are they accepting of ideologies, beliefs, and world views that differ from their own? We WILL be a diverse group; can they get along with people who may be different than them? Do they take diversity as an opportunity to learn and grow? Are they open to new experiences?

The sixth and final question: Does this persona really understand and are they willing to be a contributing member of OUR Tribe? This Tribe idea isn't for everyone, and our specific Tribe really isn't for everyone. Do they get the big picture, and do they genuinely believe this will be an environment where they will love contributing towards something bigger than themselves?

Determining Roles

Once a potential member makes it through this questioning process, we'll determine their ideal role within the Tribe. This would be accomplished by assessing their skills, knowledge, and experiences, values, and what they hope to contribute and receive from the Tribe. 

We're all different. But we can categorize ourselves in different ways. I have an anecdotally-supported hypothesis that our different personalities evolved so we could fulfill various roles within a Tribe. For convenience, I really love the 16personalities variation of the Myers-Briggs personality test as a "guide" for determining intra-tribe roles. Each one of the 16 different personality types would, theoretically, play a specialized role within the Tribe. The more roles the Tribe can fill, the better the Tribe can solve problems related to surviving and thriving. It was true for our ancestors and it's true for us today.

To this end, part of this role determination process would include giving the potential member the test. This will help determine HOW they fit into the Tribe. The goal is to give them a role that will allow them to reach their full potential, AND to maximize their contribution to the Tribe. The better job we do of making the right fit, the better it is for them and for the Tribe. Next, we actually test them in action as a "prospect."

The Prospect Period


The goal of this period is to actually see if they fit in with the Tribe. If not, they can be dismissed easily. In essence, they have to prove their worth to the Tribe. This period would be rather lengthy, perhaps six months to a year, possibly longer. The Prospect would be given some or the rights and responsibilities of Membership, which would increase over time. This would allow the Prospect to slowly learn how the Tribe functions both internally and with the outside world.

This period would also allow the potential member to find their niche within the Tribe. They could test out different roles and be given different responsibilities. This would give everyone a chance to maximize potential. 

If, during this time, a potential member turns out to have lied or was acting in a disingenuous fashion during the questioning period, or if the individual or the Tribe determined the fit just isn't right, the Tribe could sever ties with the individual with minimal pomp and circumstance. This decision could be made by a simple majority of the current Tribe members.

The Probationary Period

Once a potential member completed their Prospect Period, they would be admitted to the Tribe as a Probationary Member. The Probationary Member would enjoy the full rights and responsibilities of membership in the Tribe. This stage would be one last test to assure the new member would be a great fit and contribute to the Tribe in a meaningful, impactful way. This stage could also last six months to a year or possibly more. If the Probationary Member is not working out, they could be dismissed from the Tribe with 2/3 of the vote of the Current members. 

Types of Members

One of the more vexing problems I've been trying to solve is how to deal with the issue of commitment. Threading the needle of how much commitment we need from members is a tricky proposition. Too much commitment and we run the risk of losing ourselves in the group, and trending too close to "cult' status. Too little commitment and we lose most if not all of the benefits of a collective group. 

Further, different people in different situations might want different things, even if they're a perfect fit for the concept I've been describing. Maybe some people want to live in a communal housing situation where they share every aspect of their daily lives. Maybe someone wants their won space, but wants to live in close proximity to the rest of the Tribe. Maybe someone wants to live off-site and interact with the tribe on more of a part-time basis. Or maybe someone is totally down with the project, but their significant other isn't so keep on the idea. How do we construct a system that gives all these folks what they're looking for, while still maintaining that Tribe social connection? The solution to this problem seems pretty straight-forward - we just give people options. If the Tribe itself is organized as a for-profit entity, the Tribe can purchase the necessary properties and lease them to the members. Or something like that.

We also might encounter another situation where we encounter people we like, have something to offer the Tribe, but for whatever reason, aren't a good fit as Tribe Members. Or they have no interest in actually joining the Tribe. In this situation, it would be useful to have a formal category to clearly define relationships. For this purpose, we could define this group as "Friends of the Tribe."

Friends of the Tribe could be people in and around our community who own a business we deal with regularly, friends and family of our Members, people who train at our gym but aren't part of the Tribe, or even people located outside our immediate geographic area. 


This is the proposed process we'd use to vet and define the people involved with the Tribe. Like every part of this plan, these are just my preliminary ideas of the logistics of this entire project, and will likely change once we start actual planning.



No comments:

Post a Comment

Project Summary - The 30,000 Foot View - Version 3.0

  This is the third version of the outline for this project. To see how these ideas have evolved as we've developed them, read the first...