1: Getting better at getting better is what RiseWithDrew is all about.

Monday through Thursday, we explore ideas from authors, thought leaders, and exemplary organizations. On Friday, I share something about myself or what we are working on at PCI.

The last several Fridays, we’ve been looking at the strategic importance of being a great place to work.

The problem?

Our assumptions around group culture are mostly wrong, Daniel Coyle writes in The Culture Code: The Secrets of Highly Successful Groups.

“Group culture is one of the most powerful forces on the planet,” he writes. “We sense its presence inside successful businesses, championship teams, and thriving families, and we sense when it’s absent or toxic.”

We also know a high-performing culture translates into business success: “A strong culture increases net income 756 percent over eleven years, according to a Harvard study of more than two hundred companies,” Daniel notes.

“We all want strong culture in our organizations, communities, and families. We all know that it works. We just don’t know quite how it works,” he writes.

2: Our problem? 

We are looking at the wrong things. “We tend to think about it as a group trait, like DNA. Strong, well-established cultures like those of Google, Disney, and the Navy SEALs feel so singular and distinctive that they seem fixed, somehow predestined.”

Creating an engaging workplace culture seems, well, mysterious. 

“While successful culture can look and feel like magic, the truth is that it’s not,” Daniel writes. 

“Culture is a set of living relationships working toward a shared goal. It’s not something you are. It’s something you do.”

3: Daniel spent four years researching and investigating 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, and… (get ready for it) a gang of jewel thieves.

What did he learn?

“Cultures are created by a specific set of skills,” Daniel writes. “These skills . . . tap into the power of our social brains to create interactions.”

Specifically, there are three skills as leaders we must master to create a dynamic workplace culture and high-performing teams in a fast-changing world:

Skill 1: Build Safety: Signals of connection generate bonds of belonging and identity. Being smart is overrated.

Skill 2: Share Vulnerability: Habits of mutual risk drive trusting cooperation. Fallibility is crucial.

Skill 3: Establish Purpose: Narratives create shared goals and values. 

The really good news? 

These skills are something we can improve with focus and intentionality.

More next week!


Reflection: What concrete actions can I take to build psychological safety, be vulnerable, and establish purpose?

Action: Do it.

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