Book Review: The Culture Code by Daniel Coyle

This book was recommended by Chris’s mentor. The Culture Code shows that group culture is one of the most powerful forces on the planet. It lives inside successful businesses, winning teams, and thriving families.

Coyle found that successful cultures share these three traits:

  1. Build Safety: Explore how signals of connection generate bonds of belonging and identity.
  2. Share Vulnerability: Explain how habits of mutual risk drive trusting cooperation.
  3. Establish Purpose: Use narratives to create shared goals and values.

The key is to establish that “we are safe here.”

Belonging cues create safe connections in groups.

These belonging cues possess three basic qualities:

  1. Energy: Invest in the exchange that is occurring
  2. Individualization: Treat the person as unique and valued
  3. Future orientation: Signal the relationship will continue

High-performing culture is driven by the following five components:

  1. Everyone in the group talks and listens in equal measure, where each contribution is rather short.
  2. Members maintain high levels of eye contact and have energetic conversations
  3. Members communicate directly with one another, not just with the team leader.
  4. Members carry on side conversations within the team.
  5. Members periodically explore outside the team and bring information back to share with the others.

More Effective Tactics

  • Firmly decided who to hire, fire, and promote: The actions of deciding who’s in and who’s out is the most powerful signal.
  • Create safe, collision-rich spaces: Create spaces that maximize collisions. Eg: Open office, micro-kitchen, large table at company cafeteria.
  • Make sure everyone has a voice: Ask for feedback, implement them immediately, and give credits to the idea creator.
  • Pick up trash: This is often called muscular humility — a mindset of seeking simple ways to serve the group. This includes picking up checks at meals, providing startup equity, and what you do when no one is watching. These actions send the message that “We are all in this together.”
  • Avoid Giving Sandwich Feedback: Instead of sandwiching negative feedback between positive ones, separate them into different processes. More on giving feedback here.

Here are a few excerpted highlights from the full book review in LivingOS University.

Interested in more details? Check out the book on Amazon!

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