In Sebastian Junger’s “Tribe,” we are told stories of miners trapped underground, the English during the World War II Nazi occupation and American troops as they served abroad—and then as they returned home. In each case, the lesson is that tribes of people come together during crises to overcome difficult or seemingly impossible scenarios. Junger believes that a tribe is the community in which you live and share resources with. It is a group of people that you would risk your life to defend.
He cites fascinating studies during WWII where the people residing in locations bombed the most, such as London and Dresden, saw the highest morale as well as the most industrial productivity. Other areas of the UK or Germany that were not in the direct bombing zones saw lower morale and productivity. They did not experience the same urgent need to pull together to survive. He writes:
“Intrigued by the fact that in both England and Germany, civilian resilience have risen in response to the air raids, Charles Fritz (the study author) went on to complete a more general study of how communities respond to calamity. After the war he turned his attention to natural disasters in the United States and formulated a broad theory about social resilience. He was unable to find a single instance where communities that have been hit by catastrophic events laps in to sustain a panic, much less anything approaching anarchy. If anything, he found that social bonds were reinforced during disasters, and that people are overwhelmingly devoted their energies toward the good of the community rather than just themselves.”
Here, we see an example that I tell all clients, both political and corporate. Only hire people you can trust to stand beside you during war. Only hire people you want in your bunker. While you may not live together, you do share resources. It won’t be your life, but your organization’s life is likely to be on the line. Can you trust that your people will come together such as those studied by Charles Fritz? You have to. Because at some point, the bombs will come. The only way to survive them is to build a tribe of those you can trust absolutely. Surround yourself with an inner circle that will come together to fight the enemy during a crisis.
This book was required reading in the GORUCK Tribe program – https://www.goruck.com/pages/tribe. I’m glad I was made to pick this one up because I will now be recommending it to all my clients.