I first fell upon this word ubuntu when reading the book  “Tribal Leadership” by Dave Logan, John King and Halee Fischer-Wright.  The African word was made popular in western cultures by Desmond Tutu.  For me, it struck a chord as I was interested in this concept of from Me to We, triggered by some T.A.S. activities:

  • First, South Sound YMCA CEO Kyle Cronk was sharing with me that Y-USA research shows people join the YMCA for “me reasons” and stay for “we reasons.”  And they have the data to support it, as illustrated on the poster T.A.S. drew for their September Summit. me-to-we
  • Next, T.A.S. was co-presenting with the Washington State Patrol at the 5th annual Lean Conference.  Lila Kirkaby and Linda Kleingartner drilled in the concept of Me2We and state agencies are better together when they leverage the strengths and differences of the two agencies, towards the benefit of both.
  • Then, Simon Sinek, an inspiration of sorts to the Leaders all over the world, published his 3rd book “Together is Better.” This is a story about three friends living in a place that is ok, and through Simon’s story, or metaphor, as he calls it, he calls the inner child in each of us to explore how choices and dreams shape the story we live.

So these three influences are present in my context, and then I turn to a transformative page in “Tribal Leadership” and the authors teach me a new word… ubuntu.  They offer this as the definition: 

Today I share with you because tomorrow you share with me.

Wow!  I am a community – nerd.  I love to be in community and to build community.  I believe that my life filter is shaped by your life-lens, and vice versa.  I can seriously say I became an “ubuntu fan” writing the definition in script font, sharing with anyone who would listen, building it into our Lean presentation, and then crafting an art piece to hang over my desk.


And it clearly resonates.  I continue to share about some dreams and musings I have about making a collective difference, people want to know more about this word.   “I told about ubuntu today and they loved it”  “I kinda want to write it on the wall in the office”  “wow- this will make a good sermon!” are just a few of the responses I have heard.  Here is the crazy part-  I think there is more, and so I will continue to explore around this to see what is in store for T.A.S. with ubuntu.  I plan to share my findings on the TASguru facebook posts in November my findings.  Be sure to tune in.

Ubuntu—“I am because we are”
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