The Culture Code: The Secrets of Highly Successful Groups - PCC - ebook

NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER • The author of The Talent Code unlocks the secrets of highly successful groups and provides tomorrow’s leaders with the tools to build a cohesive, motivated culture. Where does great culture come from? How do you build and sustain it in your group, or strengthen a culture that needs fixing? In The Culture Code, Daniel Coyle goes inside some of the world’s most successful organizations—including the U.S. Navy’s SEAL Team Six, IDEO, and the San Antonio Spurs—and reveals what makes them tick. He demystifies the culture-building process by identifying three key skills that generate cohesion and cooperation, and explains how diverse groups learn to function with a single mind. Drawing on examples that range from Internet retailer Zappos to the comedy troupe Upright Citizens Brigade to a daring gang of jewel thieves, Coyle offers specific strategies that trigger learning, spark collaboration, build trust, and drive positive change. Coyle unearths helpful stories of failure that illustrate what not to do, troubleshoots common pitfalls, and shares advice about reforming a toxic culture. Combining leading-edge science, on-the-ground insights from world-class leaders, and practical ideas for action, The Culture Code offers a roadmap for creating an environment where innovation flourishes, problems get solved, and expectations are exceeded. Culture is not something you are—it’s something you do. The Culture Code puts the power in your hands. No matter the size of your group or your goal, this book can teach you the principles of cultural chemistry that transform individuals into teams that can accomplish amazing things together. Advance praise for The Culture Code “I’ve been waiting years for someone to write this book—I’ve built it up in my mind into something extraordinary. But it is even better than I imagined. Daniel Coyle has produced a truly brilliant, mesmerizing read that demystifies the magic of great groups. It blows all other books on culture right out of the water.”—Adam Grant, New York Times bestselling author of Option B, Originals, and Give and Take “If you want to understand how successful groups work—the signals they transmit, the language they speak, the cues that foster creativity—you won’t find a more essential guide than The Culture Code.”—Charles Duhigg, New York Times bestselling author of The Power of Habit and Smarter Faster Better

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Table of Contents

Skill 1: Build safety

Skill 2: Share vulnerability

Skill 3: Establish purpose


Table of Contents


Skill 1

Build safety

The people in high-performing teams always feel like they are part of a tight-knit family rather than part of an organization. They feel like they belong and that they connect with each other in such a way there's a kind of chemistry at play. They also have confidence others will have their backs come what may. To form and build a great team, find ways to build safety and a sense of belonging for everyone.

We naturally assume that if you pack highly talented individuals into a team, they will figure out how to work well with each other. To test this theory, Peter Skillman (who is a designer and engineer) put together an interesting project. Skillman assembled several four-person teams who were instructed to build the tallest possible structure from the following items:

Skillman put together teams from four prestigious universities as well as a team of lawyers and a team of business managers. He also included a team of four kindergarten-age children as well.

Without fail, the adult teams would start out by examining the materials, doing some brainstorming, generating several ideas, identifying the approach with the most potential and then executing on the best idea from all the available options. Very logical, rational and professional.

By contrast, the kindergartners took a radically different approach. They didn't do any strategizing at all but simply grabbed the materials and started building. They stood very close to each other and would abruptly grab materials from each other if they could see a better way of doing something. Their entire technique could be described as "trying a bunch of stuff together".

It's natural to assume the adults would excel in this type of exercise but that assumption turned out to be incorrect. The teams of business school students averaged less than 10-inches whereas the kindergartners consistently built structures which were 26-inches tall.

Key Thoughts
"The result is hard to absorb because it feels like an illusion. We see smart, experienced business school students, and we find it difficult to imagine that they would combine to produce a poor performance. We see unsophisticated, inexperienced kindergartners, and we find it difficult to imagine that they would combine to produce a successful performance. But this illusion, like every illusion, happens because our instincts have led us to focus on the wrong details. We focus on what we can see—individual skills. But individual skills are not what matters. What matters is the interaction." –Daniel Coyle

In turned out the business students tended to spend most of their time worrying about who was in charge and whether it was polite to criticize each other. The kindergartners didn't worry about that at all. They stood by each other so they could see what was going on. The kindergartners spotted problems immediately and then tried something else. They excelled not because they were smarter than the other team individually but because they worked together in smarter ways. That's the magic of teams.

When social scientists at the MIT Human Dynamics Lab started analyzing successful teams in depth, they noted that most highly successful teams describes themselves as being part of a "family" more than a member of a team. This goes beyond being friends with other team members or even part of a tribe. Good teams have a chemistry which is almost addictive.

Key Thoughts