A noble cause is a pronouncement of a future state that a tribe will bring about through coordinated action. A noble cause sidesteps what people say can’t work and finds a way to make it work while leading to tribal alignment.
Core values go hand-in-hand with the noble cause – the Tribal Leadership authors distinguish the difference between the two:
“If core values are the fuel of the tribe, a noble cause is the direction where it’s headed.”
Core values serve as the foundation and drive of your business while the noble cause sets the course and allows you to visualize where your business is headed and state this direction in language.
Tribal Leadership identifies two ways to set a noble cause. First, keep asking “in service of what?” An example IT company noble cause is provided – “Building a better world through the power of design.” Notice the vision aspect of this statement “Building a better world” and the action of how they are going to accomplish said vision “through the power of design.”
The second method of creating a noble cause is through the “Big Four Questions” which are:
1. What’s working well?
2. What’s not working?
3. What can we do to make the things that aren’t working work?
4. Is there anything else?
Note that both methods are a means of self reflection to determine where you’re at, where you want to go, and how you’re going to get there. Similar to core values, the noble cause should reflect the will of the tribe and not the leader imposing their will on the tribe. Build the noble cause into ongoing communication and revisit every few years as your business evolves.
For more information on the noble cause check out Tribal Leadership by Dave Logan, John King, and Halee Fischer-Wright.