To me, a tribe is a group of people with specific similar characteristics. So tribes can be a group of policemen, where what they have in common is their job. Then within the tribe, you can have a sub-tribe of the policemen from Ireland for example. You can have a tribe of Africans or a tribe of Native American Indians. We all have tribes, belong to tribes or change tribes during the course of our lives.
The concept of tribalmixing was always a part of my DNA - but I did not notice it till it was pointed out to me while attending UCLA. I had an appointment with my friend Freeman Mc Neil, former UCLA the NY Jets Football star. I arrived at the meeting with one of my Iranian friends with me, a classmate from an advanced Economics course, Money and Banking. Freeman laughed when I introduced the two of them. His comment is as fresh in my mind today as when he said it in 1980. 'Men you are the only cat I know with such a variety of friends. You hang out with the top athletes, the president of the Alumni Association, Chinese, Hispanics, Island people, Africans, me and this dude from Iran'.
This was always my nature. I observed that each tribe had its strengths and its weaknesses. You don't ask the Jewish kid in the corner to dunk a basketball, you ask him to explain the derivative markets and hedging to you. You don't ask the Italian kid to organise the meeting, but you ask him to have his mom cook for your party. You do not ask the rasta kid to meet you at 8 am, but if you need a loyal friend to go into South Central L.A. at night, either him or the Mexican Essas (homeboys) are the persons for that job.What is frustrating are the OLDER PLAYERS who repeat the same mistakes. Sometimes you have to be brutal with them. Some will test the limits and you have to be able to establish limits fast and furiously. When you make a move, it has to genuine. If you bluff once, you lose your credibility. It is an up hill battle to regain your credibility. It is more effective to not lose your credibility than to have to regain it. So with these skills you sit at the helm and behave as a conductor and not as a boss. The most important Tribe in the group is the money tribe. The ones who know how to get the money, who knows the different rules between the Primary and Secondary Markets and who know how to maneuver the complex world of banking rules across border complications.
So we mix the tribes and we give them the tools to express themselves. You - at the helm, must have a very superficial knowledge of all the instruments, but you can’t go too deep. If you go deep you lose sight of the big picture. Your team members must have a very vertical knowledge of their area of expertise. If you stay to far away from the game you do not understand how all the pieces come together in the puzzle. So you need a hybrid skill set that you gain from being a socialite who is also a loner. A very gentle and likeable person who can become violent if necessary and an excellent communicator too. You know what the music must song like and what the film must look like, so you are more like a shepherd going after the stray sheep gently nudging them all in the right direction, while leaving them creative space.
But some creatives need to stray so you have to know which must stray and which must not. The worse thing you can do to a creative genius is to have him explain a good idea to a bree eating money guy who is clueless. So we have to become money men. You think brain surgery is complicated. Try understanding Primary and Secondary Markets, BGs, SBLCs, the Fed, The AXS, the MOUs and the NDAs. You gotta mix your tribes. You will never master all these elements in a life time. Then you sit in the middle like a conductor.
You have to manage the egos of the old school players. But if you ran a gang then you know how to do that. Its like getting cobras to dance with each other, it is a delicate art that has to be done with care and attention. You have to know the music and you have to know your people. Then you have to know the laws and the rules. So you need skills mad skills. Then on top all of that, you have to be very humble and open minded. Sometimes the person with the best idea might whisper it to you, so you have to be a good and intuitive listener.
This is why you need many tribes so you pull in all these skill sets and you mix them, tribalmixing!
Tell me about your tribes and how they make you unique!