The Culture Code - Daniel Coyle

Book club | 31.05.2019

The Culture Code – Daniel Coyle

Throwback one year and I was on a beach in Bali, living my dream and working my way through a pile of non-fiction books. It felt right to dig one of them out again for May’s culture book club review. This month it’s The Culture Code by Daniel Coyle.

What is The Culture Code all about?

It’s a look at the three skills that highly successful groups have in common:

  • Building safety (and therefore creating belonging).
  • Sharing vulnerability (to foster brilliant cooperation).
  • Establishing purpose (to motivate, guide and give meaning).

Throughout the book you’ll find examples and case studies of famously successful groups such as Google, Pixar and SEALs. You could argue that quite a lot of the book is obvious, but sometimes you need to be reminded of the simple and practical things you can do – without any more time, budget or resource.

Each chapter has an ‘ideas for action’ section that offers a menu of suggestions to experiment with at a group level, or to reflect on your own style and the individual actions you can take to build a more cooperative and high performing culture.

Light bulb moments

Not so much light bulb moments from this book, but I have chosen one action to take from each chapter. My plan is to try it out and see what impact it has.

Overdo thank yous

A small action that will make a big difference. Coyle says that when you enter highly successful cultures, the number of thank yous you hear seems over the top. But there’s also a strong scientific support that it ignites cooperative behaviour.  

I’m going to say more thank yous.

Listen like a trampoline

We all know that good listening is more than nodding and agreeing. “It’s about adding insight and creating moments of mutual discovery.”

I’ll reflect on how much of a trampoline I am in conversations I have. Less nodding, more bouncing insight and sharing ideas. 

Focus on bar-setting behaviours

We’re always helping clients to create a sense of purpose and bring their values to life. Focusing on bar-setting behaviours helps translate abstract ideas into concrete and tangible actions. More of that to come! 

Would you like to read this book?

Once we’ve finished reading a book, we share the headlines and then send it to anyone who wants to read it. Once you’re done, you can either let it live forever on your shelf or share it with someone new.

As always, if you’d like to read The Culture Code, get in touch and we’ll pop it in the post. Email