The Culture Code: The Secrets of Highly Successful Groups

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Published: 1/30/2018
An essential book that unlocks the secrets of highly successful groups and provides readers with a toolkit for building a cohesive, innovative culture, from the New York Times bestselling author of The Talent Code

The Culture Code By Daniel Coyle

Key Insights

It’s no secret that great teamwork can lead a group to victory!

And, likewise, a bad group dynamic can kill a team and squander all its hope for success.

But, what exactly makes a team work well together?

In, “The Culture Code” Daniel Coyle shares his insights on working together, sharing a common goal, and safety and security in a team environment.

“The goal needs to be to get the team right, get them moving in the right direction, and get them to see where they are making mistakes and where they are succeeding.”- Daniel Coyle

Coyle helps YOU to lead your team to victory and helps you to understand the dynamic you must have with your group in order to achieve your common goal.

Key Points

  • Group Culture

Group culture is the relationship dynamic of working with a group of people, whether it be family, friends, or co-workers, in the pursuit of a common goal.

Naturally, some groups have wonderful group culture and work well together, while others don’t. This is usually the result of people in the group worrying about themselves individually rather than spending time worrying about the team as a whole. This takes the attention off of the common goal, which leads to failure.

  • You Must Feel Safe

For group culture to be successful, it must feel safe for all individuals involved. Safety is important because it feels familiar, which makes it easier to open up and connect.

We are the best teammates we can be when we are given external cues to prompt good behavior. For example, having a leader that showers you with compliments and encouragement will help you to feel safe, invite you to take risks, and ultimately let you perform to the best of your ability.

Belonging cues are cues that help people to feel safe in their group. It helps them to feel like they belong.

“Belonging cues are behaviors that create a safe connection in groups. They include, among others, proximity, eye contact, energy, mimicry, turn-taking, attention, body language, vocal pitch, consistency of emphasis, and whether everyone talks to everyone else in the group.”- Daniel Coyle

  • You Aren’t Perfect

Creating a safe work environment is not always a piece of cake. There is some work that goes along with it.

The most important thing is to let people know that you are listening to them and care about what they have to say. Physical cues that inform people you are listening include tilting your head, raising your eyebrows, and not blinking often. You can choose to say “uh-huh”, “yes”, or any other small utterance that will help them to know you understand what they’re saying.

Another important tip to ensure a safe environment is to let people know that you are not perfect. People don’t want to feel that they are working with someone robotic without weakness. It’s nice to feel a human connection with your team and it definitely helps everyone to work effectively toward their common goal.

  • Be Vulnerable

As we said, you want your team to know that you are human just like them. So, showing your weaknesses and being vulnerable is key.

Being vulnerable builds trust. It’s true in relationships, as well as teams and families.

“Vulnerability doesn’t come after trust—it precedes it. Leaping into the unknown, when done alongside others, causes the solid ground of trust to materialize beneath our feet.”-Daniel Coyle

When people admit that they have certain weaknesses, oftentimes the group will jump in to help patch up those holes with their strengths. This cooperation drives teams to success.

Vulnerability also drives people to help one another. Nobody likes to see another person at their weakest, so instinct will motivate team members to help the weaker links and work together.

Being straight-forward and upfront with team members also shows a great level of vulnerability. Speaking respectively yet freely helps to create a trust dynamic that is invincible.

  • Communicate

It’s important to let your team know that you expect them to cooperate and work together seamlessly. And, the only way to do that is by telling it to them straightforwardly.

When you communicate that you need your team’s help, it will allow them to express their weaknesses. This creates a group culture of everyone for the team so that no individual feels as if they’re walking alone.

A leader must be the first to express their vulnerabilities to the team. This will not make them look weak, in fact, it will create that safe space we’ve been talking about.

“The road to success is paved with mistakes well handled.”- Daniel Coyle

Making mistakes is only human!

  • Sense of Purpose

For a team to really succeed, everyone on the team must be working toward the same common goal.

The common goal is what shapes the identity of the group and gives them purpose. Without it, a team cannot function cooperatively.

The common goal drives a team’s behavior and allows them to work efficiently.

Good leaders will encourage their team to make group decisions relating to their sense purpose. A good leader will not impose his or her idea on their teams, but rather help them to cooperatively come to decisions together. This inspires creative problem-solving.

  • Repetition

Sense of purpose is not established by just saying it once amongst your team. It is something that must be drilled into the team’s mind over and over again.

By repeating the team’s goal over and over again, it will allow the message to stick and it will further motivate the team to conquer their goals.

Don’t be afraid of using a cheesy catchphrase! If it helps make the message stick, then it’s doing its job and there is no reason to be embarrassed or ashamed.

The Main Take-Away

A good group dynamic that welcomes vulnerability within a safe environment leads teams to success. Without a functioning cooperative team, groups will focus on themselves individually and result in failing to achieve the common goal.

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