- File Size: 2180 KB
- Print Length: 260 pages
- Publisher: Bantam (January 30, 2018)
- Publication Date: January 30, 2018
- Sold by: Random House LLC
- Language: English
- ASIN: B01MSY1Y6Z
- Text-to-Speech: Enabled
- Word Wise: Enabled
- Lending: Not Enabled
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #27,610 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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The Culture Code: The Secrets of Highly Successful Groups Kindle Edition
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“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. Read it immediately.”—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. This book is a marvel of insight and practicality.”—Charles Duhigg, New York Times bestselling author of The Power of Habit and Smarter Faster Better
“The Culture Code is a step-by-step guidebook to building teams that are not just more effective but happier. Whether you lead a team or are a team member, this book is a must-read.”—Laszlo Bock, CEO of Humu, former SVP of People Operations at Google, and author of Work Rules!
“Daniel Coyle has a gift for demystifying elite performance and breaking it down into empirical facts. This is indispensable for anyone looking to lead, build, or find an elite culture.”—Rich Diviney, retired Navy SEAL Officer and director of outreach for the Barry-Wehmiller Leadership Institute
“There are profound ideas on every single page, stories that will change the way you work, the way you lead, and the impact you have on the world. Highly recommended, an urgent read.”—Seth Godin, author of Linchpin
About the Author
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“I spent the last four years visiting and researching eight of the world’s most successful groups, including a special-ops military unit, an inner-city school, a professional basketball team, a movie studio, a comedy troupe, a gang of jewel thieves, and others. I found that their cultures are created by a specific set of skills”
Coyle started with a definition of culture that’s a little bit different than the norm. He says, “Culture is a set of living relationships working toward a shared goal. It’s not something you are, it’s something you do.”
So, what is it that you do? What do people in organizations that create strong cultures do that their peers in other organizations don’t do?
Coyle organizes the book into three sections, each one of which relates to a specific skillset. The three skills are: build safety; share vulnerability; and establish purpose.
There are several chapters about each skill. There’s a good mix of stories and studies. Coyle chooses his examples carefully and tells their stories well. He doesn’t use bullet points or frequent summaries, so sometimes you will work to tease out his meaning. You can get a sense of this if you review my highlights from the Culture Code on Goodreads.
Most business authors put summaries of key points or action steps at the end of every chapter. Coyle doesn’t. Instead, he includes a chapter at the end of every section, titled “Ideas for Action.” That chapter functions as a review of the other chapters in the section. I think that’s a good device, but I’d rather he also put his key points at the end of every chapter.
Coyle’s a good storyteller and he makes it a point to try to tell stories you may have heard before from an angle where you haven’t seen them before. One of those stories is the story about Tylenol and its credo. Another is the story of the founding of Pixar.
In telling those stories, Coyle leaves out some interesting and potentially helpful things. For example, he tells us about the meeting where Johnson & Johnson executives reviewed the company’s credo to see if it should be revised. We know there was a meeting. But Coyle never tells us whether they changed the credo or not at that meeting. He simply jumps ahead to the Tylenol crisis, where the credo became guiding principles for one of the most successful disaster recovery examples ever.
Then, there’s the story of Ed Catmull and Pixar. Coyle says, “If you set out to design a life that represented the perfect merger of art and science, you might design one that looks like Catmull’s.” Then, just below, after mentioning a little bit about Catmull’s parents and his early interests, he says “After college, he landed a job with George Lucas…”
Well yes, it was, technically, “after college,” but it was a full five years after Catmull got his PhD. And, after talking about the life as a model for the perfect merger of art and science, Coyle leaves out the fact that in his pre-Lucas and pre-Pixar days, Ed Catmull worked on projects for ARPA during the time he was working as a physicist.
Those are important things to know if you want to learn how Ed Catmull developed into the manager he is today. You can learn more about them in his book, Creativity, Inc, about his life and Pixar.
Chapters 15 and 16 are worth reading, even if you skip everything else. Chapter 15 is “How to Lead for Proficiency” while chapter 16 is “How to Lead for Creativity.” The two skills are different and which one you choose as a manager will determine what values you treasure and what kinds of performance you optimize.
In A Nutshell
This is a book that will help you create a strong and supportive culture where you are. There are problems with the book, but they’re not big enough or consistent enough to really detract from the value. If you want to learn about how to create and maintain a positive and strong culture in your team or organization, buy and read The Culture Code: The Secrets of Highly Successful Groups by Daniel Coyle.
I reached out to Daniel in the hopes that he had some thoughts. I haven't gotten a response, but here is what I said as it applies to the book:
I just finished reading The Culture Code and I really enjoyed it. I'm a photographer and lots of your research connected to my own about putting clients at ease and communicating that failure is ok.
However, I did have one thought that I hoped you'd be able to offer some additional insight into. Some of the cultures you researched had/have issues with toxic masculinity. I was an improvisor in Chicago for over 10 years, and in many ways the trust used to build strong groups was also used as a vehicle to groom young women to trust terrible men. Similarly, John Lasseter stepped down as head of Pixar amid misconduct allegations. And the Navy SEALs still haven't had a women in the squad.
My question is, when strong culture comes from expressing safety and vulnerability, how can these institutions be viewed as strong when women's experiences have been so different? And in your research had you noticed any ways that other companies had dealt with toxic masculinity?
Top international reviews
The best thing about this book is that the principles within it have a cumulative effect; the more you implement, the more often they are repeated and the longer they remain in place, the more acute and sustainable the positive results. Whether you are running a FTSE100 business, or coaching a Sunday League football team, you must read this book.
I also liked the chapter on the main differences between Proficient Teams and Creative Teams.
I work with many start-ups designing team profiling tools (Rob Williams Assessment Ltd) so know a credible team productivity model when I see one!
This book shows you how, not just to make change in business, but how to make lasting change.
1. Build safety
2. Share vulnerability
3. Establish purpose