The Tribe already exists out there , they just need a leader who connects them.

The earliest that I remember I heard of a spiritual Tribe was of the controversial mystic Osho . This was the period of hippie culture , the rebels , those that did not fit in with the crowd . I was in college at that time , I heard a few of his talks , he challenged organised religion and politics .

Osho Challenges the Status Quo

I have had a fascination for spiritual tribes and I have observed them closely , I am not talking about religion but spirituality . Osho challenged the status quo and he was the most controversial of them , Rajneesh or Osho as he was later called even criticised Mahatma Gandhi who was highly respected and the orthodoxy of mainstream religions. In advocating a more open attitude he caused controversy wherever he went. His teachings were interspersed with jokes , he delighted in engaging in behaviour that seemed entirely at odds with traditional images of enlightened individuals . He shocked and challenged the norm with his way of spiritual nirvana.

Tribes challenge the status Quo.

Sri Sri Ravi Shankar spreads the Art of living

Sri Sri founded the Art of Living ,initiated a series of practical and experiential courses in spirituality around the globe . He says that rhythmic breathing practice, Sudarshan Kriya , came to him during a silent 10 days meditation. The thing to note about Sri Sri is the committed Tribe of Art of Living . The entire organisation of Art of Living and its courses are run by volunteers , they are firm believers in the teachings of Gurudev as he is fondly called by the tribe. I have witnessed professionals giving up their careers to join AOL . The AOL tribe feels it is their responsibility to spread the message and get other members to join in .

Tribes spread the word and get other tribe members to join in.The tribe grows.

Ramana Maharishi asks “who am I”

At the age of 16 , he had a “death-experience” where he became aware of a “current” or “force” which he recognised as his true “I” . He attracted devotees who came to him for darshan(visit) at his ashram . His main teaching was ‘atma-vichar’ (self inquiry ) on “I-thought” . Advita is a doctrine of Non-duality , Ramana Maharishi “secularised” and “modernised” Advita . The tribe of Advita followers already existed , those that were attracted to deeper teachings of the eastern spiritual practices . Against a global outwards focused world there was a tribe that wanted to explore deeper purpose existence.

Tribe leaders are believers in a idea they want to spread

Yoga rules the world

Yoga is a group of physical , mental , and spiritual practices that originated and spread across the world , it is the Sanskrit word for union. Patanjali is often considered the father of yoga. Most people credit Swami Vivekanda with being America’s introduction to yoga with his address at the world Parliament of Religions in Chicago in 1893 . He travelled across the states lecturing and teaching yoga to eager students . Then it was in 1920 the Paramhansa Yogananda who spread the message of kriya yoga to the West. There have been other Yoga gurus who spread their idea of Yoga to the west and made it popular globally .

A leader is needed to connect the Tribe to the idea

Jay Shetty makes spirituality Digital

Jay Shetty is a British Indian Internet personality , former monk and motivational speaker . He spent his time as a monk studying behavioural science and learning more about the human mind. Shetty turned to videos on the internet and found a ray of hope . He hit two billion views in 18 months !

Jay challenges the idea of a traditional spiritual Monk , there is a audience that seeks connection with a spiritual teacher , who is not like a ‘Guru’ but like one of them a guy next door , they relate with him .

You don’t build Tribes they already exists out there , they just need a leader who connects them.

What is Common

Spirituality gives a good glimpse of what it takes to connect a Tribe of raving fans . What applies to spirituality can be applied to Brand Tribes .

  1. Leaders build Tribes
  2. Tribes challenge status Quo
  3. Tribe leaders believe in an idea they want to spread
  4. Tribes are connected by leaders to an idea
  5. Tribes already exists out there , find them
  6. Tribe leaders are authentic , build trust by adding value
  7. Once trust is built not just the leader but Tribe members who are now raving fans enrol new tribe members

You too can build your Tribe ? Do you have an idea to spread ?

Sanjay Mudnaney


Anyone can build a Tribe , you need to have an attitude of rocking the boat , challenging the status quo , connecting the tribe with your idea. Remember you have only one life , make it meaningful.

My very first job out of campus was in a leading computer education company , I was promoted as a branch manager at the prime location, Nariman Point centre which had been a laggard and loss making business, we had experienced stalwarts who had managed the branch but it continued to be loss making . Though I was a fresher , had no managerial experience , as a product executive I had launched a highly successful course for chartered accountants as my first assignment for the company. I was given the charge.

I gathered the team , freshers and a few experienced hands and I enrolled them on an idea ,’we are in the business of making a difference’ , I made them see that every student who did our course was either getting placed or was getting promoted. I asked the team to forget all about ‘target’s and just connect with customers as people and bring one quality to the table ‘Empathy’ and I said “Make friends , make a difference ,have fun , enjoy the journey” . Some thought I was crazy, this was a loss making centre , perhaps they thought I would fail . I took a risk , this had never been done before , I was rocking the boat .

Tribes connect with an Idea

The idea rocks the boat , I was also busting the myth that 9 to 5 = Job , Job = Targets , Targets = Stress , that employees need to be micromanaged . The definition of job was shifted from ‘work’ to ‘contribution’ .This was an idea that the tribe enrolled to.Techies were used to being told what to to do , that was their experience , this was getting challenged with ‘taking ownership’.

The idea challenges the status Quo

A tribe challenges the status quo . If what is going on is normal there is no reason for a tribe , a tribe comes alive when the existing norm is challenged , there is an alternative story . I attracted team members who believed in the idea of making a difference . I remember the shift in sales team , they even refused registrations of students where they felt the course would not help them and this even when the students were ready to pay. This was different and the team genuinely felt good about contribution as an idea.

Yes we were young maybe naive but this centre turned around , it became a profit centre , we grew year on year and recorded a 300% growth. I had rocked the boat and challenged the status quo.

Tribes need a Leader

Every Tribe needed a leader , the leader is the connector of the idea and the tribe. This was a young team of techies and teachers , all I did was connect them with an idea of authentic ‘contribution’ and ‘we are in the job of making a difference’ and that we must have ‘fun’ on the way . I was not managing the team but leading the team with an idea.

I have seen similarly a strong tribe at Mastek , this flowed from the founders , the very nature of business focus on building products and solutions in software industry when no one was doing that was different , every other IT company was running a body shopping and later offshoring business . First generation entrepreneurs , living by values all this was different , not many know Mastek was the first IT company to list on stock exchanges in india and also the first to give ESSOPs . Mastek was rocking the boat ,Ashank Desai amongst the founders was leading the tribe with the idea of Mastek.

You can build a Tribe within your Organisation

As head of Marketing and Communications at Mastek I experienced building a tribes within an organisation with a unique project .The challenge was to build Mastek employer brand presence in campuses , we had no visibility on the ground . Going by the traditional route of sponsorships would not help , it was too crowded a space . I came up with an idea of a campus IT solutions contest (As that was the core strength of Mastek) with a social connect that evolved as one of the most successful employer brand initiatives ‘Project Deep Blue’ . PDB is run in campuses with over 800 teams participating every year in a four month long project and contest to build real life IT solution for the social sector . When I got this idea six years back we only had a core team of three , I first enrolled Sundar , Co-Founder of Mastek who has been a mentor to the project and then we got volunteers to join as mentors from the wider organisation.

The mentors joined because of the sense of ‘contribution’ to the student community , first a few joined , then a few more , now the word has spread , everyone wants to be part of this annual initiative . The mentors do this beyond their day jobs in the evening and on weekends, there is no direct benefit for those that join other than being part of the Tribe of ‘Project Deep Blue’ that makes a difference to the lives of students.

There is another attribute of a tribe , it is not just the leader but the tribe members enrol other tribe members.

Leaders who rock the boat build tribes

When I worked with Madan Bahal of Adfactors to build Mnet , the first pan India integrated marketing company , we were rocking the boat , no one had done this before. Madan has constantly rocked the boat to build the largest PR agency in India . I have seen Madan at work ,from day one he has taken risks to bet on contrarian ideas, rocked the boat doing the unconventional.

I have worked with social sector leaders Dr Abhay Bang , Dr Prakash Ambedkar, Dr Ashish Satav, Girish Kulkarni, Vinayak Lohani , Adhik Kadam , Mamoon Akhtar each one has rocked the boat and built solid volunteer driven non-profits. Money and resources did not stop them , they just believed in an idea led from the front and connected believers. If they could do it without any resources no one can have an excuse. As Girish Kulkarni of Snehalaya says “You just begin the work , people will join you on the way” , this is the secret of tribes ,a leader leads the way and other believers join in . Tribe is a movement that is waiting to happen.

Dr Pramaod Tripathi the founder of Freedom From Diabetes who I help with strategic marketing and sales is rocking the boat with diabetics . In a world where diabetics have been told ‘once a diabetic , always a diabetic” he is getting them free from medicines and insulin with diet , exercise , inner transformation and 24x 7 telemedicine medical through app.

Sudhakar Ram , Co-Founder at Mastek , who I consider as a friend , philosopher and guide would tell me that I had the knack of enrolling people to ideas . My experience across organisations, non profits and leaders tells me they are all enrollers of ideas and that anyone can be an enroller of ideas, anyone can build a Tribe , in the digital world it is even more possible , you need to have an attitude of rocking the boat , challenging the status quo , connecting the tribe with your idea. Remember you have only one life , make it meaningful. Don’t survive , Thrive ! If you play to survive you will become a commodity and commodities are replaceable !

Start a movement , build your Tribe.

Sanjay Mudnaney


I do keep getting requests from friends I know who have lost their jobs to help connect them with someone I know. These are difficult times , many people have lost their jobs , many have received pay cuts in their salaries . Yet EMIs need to be paid , children’s school fees need to be taken care of there are essential home expenses and bills that have to be paid. There is a uncertainty of the future as economic impacts of the pandemic are being felt across industries . A new world is emerging , in this world you are in business within and outside a Job.

9 to 5

My father joined the MCGM and he retired from MCGM , one job for a lifetime . There was a concept called job security and you worked on a given time schedule 9 to 5 with 20 minutes of lunch break. There are some places like this even now mostly in the government services , not much has changed.

The myth of job security was busted in the capitalist world gradually the western concept of hire and fire found its way to Indian organisations, there is no 9 to 5 any longer .

Living for the Paycheque

There was another popular term ‘TGF’ , Thank God it is Friday . What this stands for is , get through the week to live life on the weekends. Most employee satisfaction studies year after year show that over 80% of employees are not satisfied with their jobs and yet the continue because bills have to be paid.

HR teams continue with engagement activities to build bonding with the organisations and improve job satisfaction scores. If this would have helped the scores would have improved , what we know is they have not. This has got nothing to do with HR.

Survivors don’t Survive

The new world that has unfolded long before the pandemic , in this world if you play for survival , you will not survive . Those that play safe , fit in the boxes , do what is told are commodities and commodities can be replaced with something or someone that is cheaper somewhere . If your job can be described you will be fired the day something or someone cheaper can take up the job.

Like when WFH becomes the norm it would become ok to hire people from tier two and tier three towns at much cheaper rates , because now location does not matter. This will hit sooner than later , so be prepared.

Don’t wait till to get Fired

Seriously those that have not yet been fired don’t wait till you get fired . Get into business , your business now . And by this I don’t mean quit your job , I mean build the attitude of an entrepreneur . You are on Your Own ! get this no one will save you .

Do what you Love

Each one of us is born with a gift , this gift makes us unique . Find your Gift and share it with the world . Don’t play safe , rock the boat , do stuff that excites you every day . Don’t chase paycheque , chase your dreams . And you turn around and tell me “there are bills to pay” , you keep surviving and yet will get fired anyway anytime . What you do is miss life . If you are a dancer , go and teach people to dance , if you are a singer go out and sing your song , if you love to write code, make poetry of code writing ( I learnt this from a brilliant code writer and they have a group for beautiful code !) . Don’t do mediocre stuff , that you don’t love .

Become the Best

Best not by comparison with others but by your own standards , keep learning , get better and better and better at doing what you love to do . How many hours of practice do you think a Virat Kohli puts in to get good at his game ? Can you set aside a few hours daily to learn something new ? I do that by following the best in the field on YouTube , reading from Blink , subscribing to The Ken .


A tree that bends in a storm survives the one that stands against the storm falls . The new world emerging is online , re-invent yourself . If you hold the position “this is the way I have done things” and stick to it you will fall , if you are a journalist who has lost his job re-invent yourself as a content writer or a story writer for the digital world . Remember whether you are in a job or outside you are in Business. lot of education is now possible thanks to free channels like YouTube ,Linkedin Learning , Udemy .

If you have lost your job take the next six months to connect with your calling and re-invent yourself , learn , educate , get better , work for free , volunteer, network , build your tribe be ready for the new world . This break could be the best thing that has happened in your life .


The good old adage of sales build your Network , in the new world I would redefine this as build your Tribe . Either lead a tribe or become a part of a tribe . Either create a movement or become a part of a movement . Give your best to your Tribe , build your credibility make it the meaning of being alive. Tribes create belonging , they hold ideas connect people.

You are on YOUR OWN

Get this in your head the future of jobs maybe your own business, contracts , freelancing or even when you are in a job , you would yet be in business . All the rules of business apply , take risks , stand out , rock the boat , make a difference , build your authentic Brand . Remember if you are commodity you will get replaced /fired some day ! if you are not adding value and are replaceable with something cheaper , you would be replaced some time sooner than later. IF YOUR JOB CAN BE DEFINED YOU WILL BE REPLACED WITH SOMETHING OR SOMEONE CHEAPER ! DON’T GET DEFINED , GO BEYOND THE BOX !

These are tough times but remember ‘This too shall Pass’ and this will pass . The worst of times do pass at the end of a dark tunnel there would be light , yet before the light is seen you would pass through the darkest part of the tunnel but finally there would be light. Let this pandemic be an opportunity to re-invent yourself , to come out stronger , to be ready for the new world, to live life on your own terms , not survive but THRIVE !

If you want to I am available to help and guide you.

Sanjay Mudnaney