Humans Can’t Help It

From the dawn of time, human beings have organized themselves into tribes. Anthropologists tell us that early humans formed bands of 30 – 40 people all hunting, gathering, and living together.  While early groups varied according to environmental and cultural practices, the concept of tribe is a near universal. 

For as long as we’ve existed we’ve relied on each other to survive.

More recently, psychologist Abraham Maslow described belonging as fundamental to the human hierarchy of needs. According to Maslow intimate relationships and friendships are foundational human psychological needs.  

Human beings can’t help it: we need to belong.


Technology and civilization haven’t eliminated the tribe. If anything, tribes are more important than ever.  In his book Tribes: Why You Need Us to Lead, Seth Godin, explains how tribes are something more than bands of people looking to survive.  According to Godin a tribe is “a group of people connected to one another, connected to a leader, and connected to an idea.”  Godin emphasizes that tribes are grounded in a shared interest and supported by a common way to communicate. Most importantly, Godin tells us that tribes need leadership. It is the leader’s responsibility to provide “connection and growth and something new.”

Tribe SLA

Shafer Leadership Academy introduced our membership option this year. We were a little uncertain about how our supporters, participants, and stakeholders would respond. It took an act of courage by our board to change our model in hopes of providing people a way to connect and grow. It turns out that we were on to something as our membership model outperformed projections by nearly 80%. 

I think that’s because an SLA membership taps into our ancient need for a tribe.

By providing our members a place to gather 2 – 3 times a month to think about leadership, we are providing community leaders a place to gather in service of a shared interest.

The people, and organizations, who attend our programs come together because they are passionate about improvement. They seek to improve themselves, their workplaces, and our community.  .

Our members are forming a tribe. It is a tribe of like minded people who passionately believe that quality leadership can impact every corner and quarter of community.  It is a tribe of people who understand that how we think about ourselves, and how we treat others, truly matters.  It is a tribe of people who realize that as President Kennedy once said, “leadership and learning are indispensable to each other.”

Our is an unsettled tribe. Our is a tribe that is constantly seeking to connect with others. Our is a tribe who seeks to promote growth within themselves, their organizations, and their community.  

We invite you to join our tribe.

Now is the time to think about a 2020 membership in Shafer Leadership Academy.  Now is the time to consider what tribe you will join next year. Now is the time to find other people, and organizations, who share your values. Now is the time to gain new tools. Now is the time to grow and connect. 

Click here to learn more about our membership options. 

Current members contact Mitch to renew your membership.

About the author:

Mitch Isaacs was named Shafer Leadership Academy’s Executive Director in May 2015. In this role, he works closely with the organization’s board of directors to fulfill the mission of the organization. He is responsible for creating vision, connecting with stakeholders, administering program offerings and leading the organization in meaningful ways.