Consistently over years, the Edelman’s Trust Barometer keeps telling us that the greatest source of trust inside the organization belongs to the category ‘people like me’. Actually, ‘people like me’ scores double than the CEO in the trust scale.
‘People like me’ means my peers, my mates, colleagues who share similar problems and send kids to similar schools. We may or may not share political ideas, or support the same football team!. We may or may not be in the same managerial layer, but, still, ‘they are like me’.
In the organization, trust is tribal and horizontal first, then vertical (hierarchical). Outside the organization, in the macro-social world the phenomenon is similar. Trust is loaded on your network members, perhaps Facebook ‘ friends’. Websites such as ‘patients like me’ where you can ask others ‘like you’ before going to the doctor (who is not like you) are drawing more and more traffic and attention. There are increasing numbers of ‘tribal sites’. Mumset for example describes itself as ‘by parents for parents’, and its frank and sometimes explicit sharing has gained the site some controversy.
Back to the organization, ‘peer-to-peer influence’ between ‘people like me’ is the strongest engine of trust, leadership and behavioural change. Most of the unwritten rules and culture shaping exist and takes place in the informal organization. Trust and influence are crafted in peer-to-peer mode. It’s what you see and feel around, what others say and do, what shapes a culture, not a declaration from the top.
Viral Change (TM) uses peer-to-peer influence, the informal organization and a strong behavioural focus to create large scale behavioural change. It works both in the organization and the macro-social arena.
Culture and sub-cultures are tribal. Trust is tribal. Influence is tribal. Power and control, loyalty, sense of belonging, all are tribal. If you understand the internal tribes, you understand the organization
Suddenly, a Chief Anthropologist Officer sound like a good idea.