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Change your tribe: change your life.

A great skill of nursing is our ability to observe others. This skill allows us to provide sensitive, compassionate care within the cultural context of the client. Our ability to listen taps our empathetic perspective. We respond to the patient's situation with a realistic, authentic plan, making our profession highly valued.

In the daily work of faculty, we strive to model caring skills for students, teaching active listening and challenging students to learn more about patients' cultural interpretations of events. Yet, it's all too common to be swept along within our own faculty culture--without similar active listening for the subcultures around us.

Dave Logan, John King, and Halee Fisher-Wright (2008), scholars in organizational behavior, provide a framework for examining organizations. They propose that an array of five tribes or stages exists In every organization, with stages defined as groups of 20 to 150 people. Each stage has distinctive behavioral features.

* Stage 1 is characterized by pervasive, negative attitudes. Fortunately, stage 1 represents only 2 percent of the organization.

* Stage 2 is more common, about 25 percent. Those In this group are "passively antagonistic." They exude "I've seen this before, and it won't work."

* Stage 3, almost half of all groups (49 percent), is where knowledge and power are hoarded. "We know what to teach and how" is a common claim.

* Those in stage 4, 22 percent, claim, "We are great!" while implying that others are not so great. We see this characteristic in nursing Magnet[R] and NLN Center of Excellence designations. * While only 2 percent are in Stage 5, that Is where "all things are possible."

Stages 4 and 5 show real excitement. Groups may move between Stages 4 and 5 as ideas and work plans unfold.

Accepting that there are such stages, tribes, or subcultures in our educational institutions and nursing faculties gives us an opportunity and strategy for examining the cultures where we work--the world of nursing education. Leaders within an organization advance that organization by first recognizing the lingo of their stage and then systematically using the language of the next stage to foster organizational growth.

Each tribe has Its distinctive lingo or internal style. As you observe yourself and your colleagues, you can find indicators of the different stages. For example, some slogans I've heard in various offices serve as clues to people's tribes.

* Stage 1: I live for weekends.

* Stage 2: Beware of the frog lady.

* Stage 3: World's best nurse.

* Stage 4: Kindness spoken here.

* Stage 5: Conspire to Inspire.

As you listen to yourself, try to determine whether your words are indicative of a specific stage or tribe. Are they Indicative of the most desirable tribe? Would your work environment be more rewarding if your tribe and you changed?

It is possible to change your tribe and change your life. Begin by using the language of the next higher stage. Let's say you teach maternal-child health and are In a stage 3 tribe. You can then use stage 4 language, for example:

Stage 3

We know what to teach for MCH

Stage 4

Our program in MCH surpasses all others!

By deliberately listening to your own culture--your tribe--you can strategically determine your tribal orientation and advance it. As you go about the work of nursing education, you can make the organization advance as you stimulate change in tribes. Surely the attention to our own organizations--where we spend so much time--is a worthy cause.

doi:10.1097/01.NEP.0000000000000006

REFERENCE

Logan, D., King, J., & Fischer-Wright, H. (2008). Tribal leadership: Leveraging natural groups to build a thriving organization. New York, NY: Harper Business.
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Title Annotation:President's Message
Author:Bavier, Anne R.
Publication:Nursing Education Perspectives
Geographic Code:1USA
Date:May 1, 2016
Words:600
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