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TitleTribal Leadership: Leveraging Natural Groups to Build a Thriving Organization
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asked for some, and then more and more. In fact, he wore several

long necklaces of Sandy’s beads, and rumors are that he wore them

when he got married. Sandy laughed when she spoke about design-

ing for Dennis. “They went all the way down to here,” she said,

gesturing below the table where we sat. “They all got in on it, even

Phil Jackson,” she said. “They were all wearing my beads.”

Years later, Rueve has gone from razoring clay on her kitchen

table to CEO of She Beads, with thirty-six employees in two loca-

tions. Her work went from “crafty crap” (her words) to grossing

several million dollars a year. She dreams of opening her own high-

end stores across the country. People can buy She Beads direct from

the Web or through numerous boutiques and sales divas. She has

agreements with Macy’s in Chicago and has other deals in the works

with boutiques and department stores. Each method of distribution

has its own product line, each with its own characteristics, “so that

we keep it all straight for the customer,” she says.

We have to see two things about how Rueve made the leap from

“I’m great” to starting a Stage Four tribe from scratch. First, she

built the company around a set of values: vitality, quality, and pas-

sion. As we’ll see in the next chapter, values are at the heart of every

“we’re great” tribe. Several of her beads feature subtle pink ribbons

highlighting her company’s commitment to beating breast cancer,

as well as other strands that include red dresses (American Heart

Association) or gold ribbons (National Childhood Cancer Founda-

tion) or teal ribbon (Chicago Ovarian Cancer Alliance). Sandy, the

walking embodiment of the tribe, is dedicated to improving these

issues. “We keep donating more and more to charities, and that

trend will continue,” she said.

Second, Rueve has developed a common characteristic of Tribal

Leaders who form a tribe from scratch: they have “tribal antennae”—

the ability to identify contributions of people not yet in the tribe. She

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145 Stage Four: Establishing Tribal Leadership

draws them in and keeps them based on a commitment to values.

Rueve points out that if she didn’t consider her contractors,

sales divas, and employees part of her tribe, “we’d be nowhere.” She

treats her customers in the same way—constantly listening for sug-

gestions and advice. Reid Hoffman, the CEO of LinkedIn, whom

we’ll meet in Chapter 10, went even further: “I tell Internet entre-

preneurs that if you are not embarrassed by your first product re-

lease, then you have launched too late.” By releasing a product and

then creating dialogue with partners, a Stage Four tribe learns what

it should change to become more successful. In essence, it creates

partnerships with its clients, just as the corporate itself runs on


Rueve went from an X-ray technician to an entrepreneur by

listening to hundreds of people tell her who she is—starting with

Michael Jordan insisting that she was an artist. Her employees,

originally working in her basement, suggested that natural light

would brighten all their moods and thus enhance quality, so she

rented an above-the-ground work space.

We see the effect of her tribal antennae when we look at her

work space. Her customers liked to come by and watch the team-

work, even when it was a few people in a basement. Through a

mutual friend, Rueve met William Brian Ross (mentioned in Chap-

ter 4), who runs Design For You, a design and general contracting

firm in Chicago. Design For You remade her workplace into an

expression of She Bead’s dedication to quality. The crowning

achievement is a Ross design that She Beads calls the spaceship.

Ross says: “The spaceship is an eight-sided table, where the string-

ers [those who string the jewelry together] sit and work. The center

of it has a series of stacked, independently rotating lazy Susans. We

designed it so stringers can sit on any side and be able to reach all

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TRIBAL LEADERSHIP. Copyright © 2008 by David Logan and John King.

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