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Find Your Tribe

​When asked when they laugh, most people say it is in response to jokes or other types of humor. However, when Sophie Scott of University College London’s Institute of Cognitive Neuroscience conducted a study on laughter, she found that most laughter takes place in normal conversations and is connected with comments, not jokes. In addition, “the person who laughs most frequently is the person who has just spoken, indicating that laughter is frequently not a reaction to someone else’s utterance,” according to her report The Social Life of Laughter. This phenomenon is seen across cultures and even among deaf people using sign language.

This means that most laughter is an act of communication, not a spontaneous reaction. It also means that the simple act of laughing is a powerful source of social bonding, Scott said on a recent episode of the TED Radio Hour podcast. In the episode “How Things Spread,” Scott noted that this type of laughter conveys acceptance and binds us all as members of a specific group.

Finding these groups is critical to our survival as human beings. Seth Godin, author of several books about marketing and communications, argued on the podcast that the Internet is making this task easier. Online groups are modern day tribes, reflecting special interests and particular goals. “The community you choose can be a mirror and an amplifier, furthering your interests and encouraging you to push ever further,” Godin writes in his most recent book, We Are All Weird. 

Professional societies are natural tribes. Each of you, as ASIS members and Security Management readers, are members of a specific tribe—a group of professionals with the noble goal of protecting people, assets, and information. The expertise shared among members of this tribe enhances the industry and improves the state of practice.

Tribes must evolve to survive. Evolution comes to the magazine this month in the form of design changes—a little more color and a fresh look in some of the departments.  

Also, in this month’s cover story, “Creating Culture Together,” Senior Editor Mark Tarallo explores how assessments can help security professionals pinpoint what ails their organizational tribe and forge a path to discovering the appropriate cure.

Finally, since officially taking the helm of ASIS a few weeks ago, CEO Peter J. O’Neil has become invested in the evolution of two tribes—the membership of security professionals and the headquarters staff who support those practitioners.

The evolution of ASIS is already under way. At the volunteer leadership meeting in January, for the first time, volunteer leaders conducted a strategic planning session with the Board of Directors and ASIS staff, generating goals for the future. The process is the first step in harnessing the collective wisdom of the tribe and ensuring that ASIS remains the worldwide security leader far into the future.

Embrace your tribe. Everyone is essential in helping it move forward. And that’s no joke.