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  • What we're really here to talk about is the "how."

  • Okay, so how exactly do we create this

  • world-shattering, if you will, innovation?

  • Now, I want to tell you a quick story.

  • We'll go back a little more than a year.

  • In fact, the date -- I'm curious to know

  • if any of you know what happened on this momentous date?

  • It was February 3rd, 2008.

  • Anyone remember what happened,

  • February 3rd, 2008?

  • Super Bowl. I heard it over here. It was the date of the Super Bowl.

  • And the reason that this date was so momentous

  • is that what my colleagues, John King

  • and Halee Fischer-Wright, and I noticed

  • as we began to debrief various Super Bowl parties,

  • is that it seemed to us

  • that across the United States,

  • if you will, tribal councils had convened.

  • And they had discussed things of great national importance.

  • Like, "Do we like the Budweiser commercial?"

  • and, "Do we like the nachos?" and, "Who is going to win?"

  • But they also talked about which candidate they were going to support.

  • And if you go back in time to February 3rd,

  • it looked like Hilary Clinton was going to get the Democratic nomination.

  • And there were even some polls that were saying she was going to go all the way.

  • But when we talked to people,

  • it appeared that a funnel effect had happened

  • in these tribes all across the United States.

  • Now what is a tribe? A tribe is a group of

  • about 20 -- so kind of more than a team --

  • 20 to about 150 people.

  • And it's within these tribes that all of our work gets done.

  • But not just work. It's within these tribes

  • that societies get built,

  • that important things happen.

  • And so as we surveyed the, if you will, representatives

  • from various tribal councils that met,

  • also known as Super Bowl parties,

  • we sent the following email off to 40 newspaper editors the following day.

  • February 4th, we posted it on our website. This was before Super Tuesday.

  • We said, "The tribes that we're in

  • are saying it's going to be Obama."

  • Now, the reason we knew that

  • was because we spent the previous 10 years

  • studying tribes, studying these naturally occurring groups.

  • All of you are members of tribes.

  • In walking around at the break,

  • many of you had met members of your tribe. And you were talking to them.

  • And many of you were doing what great, if you will, tribal leaders do,

  • which is to find someone

  • who is a member of a tribe,

  • and to find someone else who is another member of a different tribe,

  • and make introductions.

  • That is in fact what great tribal leaders do.

  • So here is the bottom line.

  • If you focus in on a group like this --

  • this happens to be a USC game --

  • and you zoom in with one of those super satellite cameras

  • and do magnification factors so you could see individual people,

  • you would in fact see not a single crowd,

  • just like there is not a single crowd here,

  • but you would see these tribes that are then coming together.

  • And from a distance it appears that it's a single group.

  • And so people form tribes.

  • They always have. They always will.

  • Just as fish swim and birds fly,

  • people form tribes. It's just what we do.

  • But here's the rub.

  • Not all tribes are the same,

  • and what makes the difference is the culture.

  • Now here is the net out of this.

  • You're all a member of tribes.

  • If you can find a way to take the tribes that you're in

  • and nudge them forward,

  • along these tribal stages

  • to what we call Stage Five, which is the top of the mountain.

  • But we're going to start with what we call Stage One.

  • Now, this is the lowest of the stages.

  • You don't want this. Okay?

  • This is a bit of a difficult image to put up on the screen.

  • But it's one that I think we need to learn from.

  • Stage One produces people

  • who do horrible things.

  • This is the kid who shot up Virginia Tech.

  • Stage One is a group where people

  • systematically sever relationships from functional tribes,

  • and then pool together

  • with people who think like they do.

  • Stage One is literally the culture of gangs

  • and it is the culture of prisons.

  • Now, again, we don't often deal with Stage One.

  • And I want to make the point

  • that as members of society, we need to.

  • It's not enough to simply write people off.

  • But let's move on to Stage Two.

  • Now, Stage One, you'll notice, says, in effect, "Life Sucks."

  • So, this other book that Steve mentioned,

  • that just came out, called "The Three Laws of Performance,"

  • my colleague, Steve Zaffron and I,

  • argue that as people see the world, so they behave.

  • Well, if people see the world in such a way that life sucks,

  • then their behavior will follow automatically from that.

  • It will be despairing hostility.

  • They'll do whatever it takes to survive,

  • even if that means undermining other people.

  • Now, my birthday is coming up shortly,

  • and my driver's license expires.

  • And the reason that that's relevant is that very soon

  • I will be walking into what we call

  • a Stage Two tribe,

  • which looks like this.

  • (Laughter)

  • Now, am I saying that in every Department of Motor Vehicles

  • across the land, you find a Stage Two culture?

  • No. But in the one near me,

  • where I have to go in just a few days,

  • what I will say when I'm standing in line is,

  • "How can people be so dumb, and yet live?"

  • (Laughter)

  • Now, am I saying that there are dumb people working here?

  • Actually, no, I'm not.

  • But I'm saying the culture makes people dumb.

  • So in a Stage Two culture --

  • and we find these in all sorts of different places --

  • you find them, in fact, in the best organizations in the world.

  • You find them in all places in society.

  • I've come across them at the organizations

  • that everybody raves about as being best in class.

  • But here is the point. If you believe and you say

  • to people in your tribe, in effect,

  • "My life sucks.

  • I mean, if I got to go to TEDx USC

  • my life wouldn't suck. But I don't. So it does."

  • If that's how you talked, imagine what kind of work would get done.

  • What kind of innovation would get done?

  • The amount of world-changing behavior that would happen?

  • In fact it would be basically nil.

  • Now when we go on to Stage Three: this is the one

  • that hits closest to home for many of us.

  • Because it is in Stage Three that many of us move.

  • And we park. And we stay.

  • Stage Three says, "I'm great. And you're not."

  • (Laughter)

  • I'm great and you're not.

  • Now imagine having a whole room of people

  • saying, in effect, "I'm great and you're not."

  • Or, "I'm going to find some way to compete with you

  • and come out on top as a result of that."

  • A whole group of people communicating that way, talking that way.

  • I know this sounds like a joke. Three doctors walk into a bar.

  • But, in this case, three doctors walk into an elevator.

  • I happened to be in the elevator collecting data for this book.

  • And one doctor said to the others, "Did you see my article

  • in the New England Journal of Medicine?"

  • And the other said, "No. That's great. Congratulations!"

  • The next one got kind of a wry smile on his face and said,

  • "Well while you were, you know, doing your research," --

  • notice the condescending tone --

  • "While you were off doing your research, I was off doing more surgeries

  • than anyone else in the department of surgery at this institution."

  • And the third one got the same wry smile and said,

  • "Well, while you were off doing your research,

  • and you were off doing your monkey meatball surgery,

  • that eventually we'll train monkeys to do,

  • or cells or robots, or maybe not even need to do it at all,

  • I was off running the future of the residency program,

  • which is really the future of medicine."

  • And they all kind of laughed and they patted him on the back.

  • And the elevator door opened, and they all walked out.

  • That is a meeting of a Stage Three tribe.

  • Now, we find these in places

  • where really smart, successful people show up.

  • Like, oh, I don't know, TEDx USC.

  • (Laughter)

  • Here is the greatest challenge we face in innovation.

  • It is moving from Stage Three

  • to Stage Four.

  • Let's take a look at a quick video snippet.

  • This is from a company called Zappos, located outside Las Vegas.

  • And my question on the other side is just going to be,

  • "What do you think they value?"

  • It was not Christmas time. There was a Christmas tree.

  • This is their lobby.

  • Employees volunteer time in the advice booth.

  • Notice it looks like something out of a Peanuts cartoon.

  • Okay, we're going through the hallway here at Zappos.

  • This is a call center. Notice how it's decorated.

  • Notice people are applauding for us.

  • They don't know who we are and they don't care. And if they did

  • they probably wouldn't applaud.

  • But you'll notice the level of excitement.

  • Notice, again, how they decorate their office.

  • Now, what's important to people at Zappos,

  • these may not be the things that are important to you.

  • But they value things like fun. And they value creativity.

  • One of their stated values is, "Be a little bit weird."

  • And you'll notice they are a little bit weird.

  • So when individuals come together

  • and find something that unites them

  • that's greater than their individual competence,

  • then something very important happens.

  • The group gels. And it changes

  • from a group of highly motivated

  • but fairly individually-centric people

  • into something larger,

  • into a tribe that becomes aware of its own existence.

  • Stage Four tribes can do remarkable things.

  • But you'll notice we're not at the top of the mountain yet.

  • There is, in fact, another stage.

  • Now, some of you may not recognize the scene that's up here.

  • And if you take a look at the headline of Stage Five, which is "Life is Great,"

  • this may seem a little incongruous.

  • This is a scene or snippet

  • from the Truth and Reconciliation process in South Africa

  • for which Desmond Tutu won the Nobel Prize.

  • Now think about that. South Africa,

  • terrible atrocities had happened in the society.

  • And people came together

  • focused only on those two values: truth and reconciliation.

  • There was no road map. No one had ever done

  • anything like this before.

  • And in this atmosphere, where the only guidance

  • was people's values and their noble cause,

  • what this group accomplished was historic.

  • And people, at the time, feared that South Africa

  • would end up going the way that Rwanda has gone,

  • descending into one skirmish after another

  • in a civil war that seems to have no end.

  • In fact, South Africa has not gone down that road.

  • Largely because people like Desmond Tutu

  • set up a Stage Five process

  • to involve the thousands and perhaps millions

  • of tribes in the country, to bring everyone together.

  • So, people hear this and they conclude the following,

  • as did we in doing the study.

  • Okay, got it. I don't want to talk Stage One.

  • That's like, you know, "Life sucks." Who wants to talk that way?

  • I don't want to talk like they do

  • at the particular DMV that's close to where Dave lives.

  • I really don't want to just say "I'm great,"

  • because that kind of sounds narcissistic, and then I won't have any friends.

  • Saying, "We're great" -- that sounds pretty good.

  • But I should really talk Stage Five, right? "Life is great."

  • Well, in fact, there are three somewhat counter-intuitive findings

  • that come out of all this.

  • The first one, if you look at the Declaration of Independence

  • and actually read it,

  • the phrase that sticks in many of our minds

  • is things about inalienable rights.

  • I mean, that's Stage Five, right? Life is great,

  • oriented only by our values,

  • no other guidance.