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The Culture Code
Cover of The Culture Code
The Culture Code
Creating Great Culture Isn't Luck or Magic. It's a Skill. Here's How to Do It.
The New York Times bestselling 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
The New York Times bestselling 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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Excerpts-
  • From the book
    Introduction When Two Plus Two Equals Ten

    Let's start with a question, which might be the oldest ques- tion of all: Why do certain groups add up to be greater than the sum of their parts, while others add up to be less?
    A few years ago the designer and engineer Peter Skillman held a competition to find out. Over several months, he as- sembled a series of four-person groups at Stanford, the Uni- versity of California, the University of Tokyo, and a few other places. He challenged each group to build the tallest possible structure using the following items:

    • twenty pieces of uncooked spaghetti
    • one yard of transparent tape
    • one yard of string
    • one standard-size marshmallow

    The contest had one rule: The marshmallow had to end up on top. The fascinating part of the experiment, however, had less to do with the task than with the participants. Some of the teams consisted of business school students. The oth- ers consisted of kindergartners.
    The business students got right to work. They began talk- ing and thinking strategically. They examined the materials.

    They tossed ideas back and forth and asked thoughtful, avvy questions. They generated several options, then honed he most promising ideas. It was professional, rational, and ntelligent. The process resulted in a decision to pursue one particular strategy. Then they divided up the tasks and tarted building.
    The kindergartners took a different approach. They did not strategize. They did not analyze or share experiences. They did not ask questions, propose options, or hone ideas. n fact, they barely talked at all. They stood very close to one another. Their interactions were not smooth or orga- nized. They abruptly grabbed materials from one another and started building, following no plan or strategy. When hey spoke, they spoke in short bursts: "Here! No, here!" Their entire technique might be described as trying a bunch of stuff together.
    If you had to bet which of the teams would win, it would not be a difficult choice. You would bet on the business school tudents, because they possess the intelligence, skills, and ex- perience to do a superior job. This is the way we normally hink about group performance. We presume skilled individ- uals will combine to produce skilled performance in the same way we presume two plus two will combine to produce four. Your bet would be wrong. In dozens of trials, kindergart- ners built structures that averaged twenty-six inches tall, while business school students built structures that averaged
    ess than ten inches.*

    Teams of kindergartners also defeated teams of lawyers (who built towers hat averaged fifteen inches) as well as teams of CEOs (twenty-two inches).

    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 perfor- mance. 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. The business school students appear to be collaborating, but in fact they are engaged in a process psychologists call status management. They are figuring out where they fit into the larger picture: Who is in charge? Is it okay to criticize someone's idea? What are the rules here?...
About the Author-
  • Daniel Coyle is the New York Times bestselling author of The Talent Code, The Little Book of Talent, The Secret Race, Lance Armstrong's War, and Hardball: A Season in the Projects. Coyle, who works as a special advisor to the Cleveland Indians, lives in Cleveland, Ohio, during the school year and in Homer, Alaska, during the summer with his wife, Jen, and their four children.
Reviews-
  • Kirkus

    November 1, 2017
    Pop science meets a business pep talk in a useful primer on building better organizations.What's the difference between a kindergarten class and a gaggle of business students? For one thing, writes talent-development guru Coyle (The Little Book of Talent: 52 Tips for Improving Your Skill, 2012, etc.), although the business students have been filled with case studies and mantras on institution-building and teamwork, "in fact they are engaged in a process psychologists call status management." While the grown-ups jockey for position, the children actually make things happen. They huddle closely in groups, grab things excitedly, quickly discard things that don't work, and don't invest much ego into the enterprise. From basketball teams to Navy SEAL teams and businesses, all of which provide case studies for Coyle's consideration, the overriding takeaway might be the simple but nonetheless meaningful truism, "we are all in this together." One aspect of any collaborative venture, whether a corporate marketing project or a startup coffee shop, is that the people in it must feel connected, well-led, and safe--i.e., treated respectfully and authentically. Coyle's mantras ("Avoid Giving Sandwich Feedback," "Listen Like a Trampoline") are decidedly not your grandpa's business school notes and may sometimes come off a little nonsensically, but they seem useful throughout, especially if working with younger people who aren't accustomed to the usual brutalities of the workaday world. "Overcommunicate expectations," urges the author, adding that in the most successful groups, leaders are persistent in articulating their goals and what each person needs to do to move along. Tough, cigar-chewing types may decry the implied hand-holding and trophy-for-showing-up implications, but there's something to Coyle's insistence that people do better when they're treated well and managed thoughtfully; as one Pixar chief puts it, "it's more important to invest in good people than in good ideas."Nothing world-shaking, but a good thing to stuff into the briefcase for the next train or plane ride.

    COPYRIGHT(2017) Kirkus Reviews, ALL RIGHTS RESERVED.

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Creating Great Culture Isn't Luck or Magic. It's a Skill. Here's How to Do It.
Daniel Coyle
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