Culture Code

When not reading the adventures of Jules Verne, or mysteries of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, my non-fiction reading list usually consists of biographies, or something historical. After a few urgings, I picked up, read, and thoroughly enjoyed "The Culture Code: The Secrets of Highly Successful Groups" by Daniel Coyle.

As the title suggests, it provides insight on how highly successful teams are formed. However, the conventions don't always follow the traditional pattern. It's not hiring the smartest people. It's not building a team with the most experience. Team dynamics is equally important.

It's an engaging read where kindergartners can succeed where CEOs and MBAs fail. There are multiple stories where the team with the biggest budget, the most experience, and the most confidence wasn't the team to win the prize. Where great ideas are ruined by mediocre teams, yet mediocre ideas are turned into success by great teams.

How leaders, real leaders, will create an environment that makes a great team. For example, how did Google come out of "nowhere?" How does Pixar consistently make such great movies? How can sports team repeatedly win, when on paper, they don't have the best players?

It's multiple stories about how you need to fail early and often so you know how to succeed. To embrace those failures as they make you a better person.

It also shows how asking for help is a sign of strength rather than weakness. Getting help is how we establish and build trust.

There were dozens of great moments throughout, but here are two that really struck a chord.

  • When a team dynamic sends the message to each member, "We are together now."
  • When a restaurant owner turns to his manager and says, "We know tonight will be a success when you ask for help at least 10 times."

Those statements stopped me in my tracks.

There was so much to take in, it will take a second reading to dig deeper into these fantastic ideas and methods.

I was so drawn in, I'm reevaluating my own work situation. Things have been "off" for about a year, if not a bit longer. Culture Code has shed light to give me a better understanding as to why.

Several years ago, we were a pretty successful company because of the people, the mindset, the communication and the "togetherness" we shared. I felt that when I interviewed, but did't have the language or understanding to articulate it.

Our success lead to merging with another company who, in their sphere, functioned in the much the same way. They had formed their own mindset and togetherness.

We worked great together. Unfortunately, working side by side, "shoulder to shoulder," we don't share the same kind of togetherness. Before we could sort through that, we were acquired by a much larger company. They have their own identity, which doesn't blend with the first two. Both of our cultures and identities have been changed.

  • The psychological safety of the original company I joined is gone
  • There is no time to ask for help, and no one to give it if you did
  • The mindset has completely changed
  • The team dynamics have radically shifted
  • People are now driven by titles and self-promotion
  • People want to be recognized for their individual success at the expense of the team

To that end, I feel my future probably lies elsewhere. I don't feel I "belong" anymore, meaning, the sense of belonging I felt 5 years ago is disappearing. Our culture code has changed.

Sure, it's possible to get it back, if the company at large worked to make it happen. But, we aren't the small company we used to be. Further, we have new demands and definitions of success from on high.

My story aside, Culture Code was absolutely worth reading, even though it was a little depressing. It was hard to acknowledge what was missing from within my company. To see how we used to behave. To look back and see the points where things didn't change for the better.

Yet, Culture Code demonstrates the possibilities. Bad process can be reshaped into success. Seemingly underperforming teams can be given the tools and freedom to recreate themselves into incredibly successful ones. Great ideas don't start off that way, they are formed and shaped through honest feedback and candor.

Culture Code has given me a lot to think about this year. If I truly am to change course and seek out another company, I have a dozens questions to ask of whoever I talk to.

With "team" taking on a whole new meaning under current conditions, Culture Code, will help be a lighthouse for better communication and success as we find different ways of working together.

Other articles of interest:

Recent Comments

  • How To Disable the Quicken Registration Prompt (32)
    • Mike: Hi, for anyone still trying to run older versions of Quicken, mine is 2004, I hope this helps. I managed to get it running on my old laptop by adding the three missing dll files, when I needed to upgrade I thought I would be able...
    • Juani: Hi, I have a registered Quicken 2016 and now my files are being held hostage by Intuit, cannot log in with my ID unless I upgrade therefore buy a subscription, I need to access my files, please HELP. Thanks
    • David: A BIG Thank you! I regularly reinstall Windows OS’s using different hardware configs. In short, Quicken 2011 (it’s March of 2020 as I write this) has been a program I’ve been very happy with and continue to use....
    • Karen L: Today I rang Reckon Australia again, got a different guy and he talked me through the process of getting me a new product key to enter since I already had the licence and it had been extended. Reckon have only extended it by 1...
    • Karen L: I have Australian Quicken 2008 on Windows 8.1. It keeps asking me to renew my licence which Reckon did for me however the activation won’t work. I tried this to disable the registration prompt however it did not stop the...
  • Enter dates into a date picker for Chrome and Firefox (1)
    • Prasanna: Hello, How to enter a previous month FIRST day and LAST day from the system date. Thanks Prasanna
  • Building Relationships with Developers (1)
    • Carlos Herrera: Ah yes. I have a team of software developers and it is genuinely so hard to keep them in the loop during projects. Though the more we work the better the communication becomes and we go from a trail and error process to a...
  • Integrating DevonAgent Pro with Alfred (1)
    • J. Garr: Beautiful, sweet, and simple. I love it; thanks for posting this solution.
  • Round and Round with the For..Next in Katalon Studio (1)
    • Sweet Ophaline Labador: Hello can you help me how to loop this scenario. Checking the elements is just the same. I want to check that the following function is available in Track Shipment – clicking on this can...
  • Parsing Strings in Katalon – Split, Substring and Readlines (6)
    • Don Pedro: String tempText=”Date Month January. Revenue $1,355,721.00″ println(tempText.split(“ \$”)[1]) You need to escape the $ with \$ The [1] on the split captures characters on the right of the split [0]...
    • Prasad: Hi, I need to get the substring from the below string ‘Date Month January. Revenue $1,355,721.00’ I want to extract text after $ value. Please help Thank you
  • Working with Dates and Date Formatting in Katalon Studio (15)
    • Sangeethaa: How to get previous day’s date(Yesterday’s date)? Actually I was using today.previous() before,it was working fine till today morning.Now its not retrieving right date. Can anyone please guide me on this.
    • Don Pedro: That could be a little tricky. First, is the text/format always going to be the same? You will need to do some parsing. Separate the first but of text at 2019. After that, split the text again to get rid of Central Standard...
  • Output status messages and test information by writing to the Log File Viewer in Katalon Studio (6)
    • Saranya: Good One. Could you plz share link to access all your katalon related blogs. ThankQ
    • Rodrigo Calabretta: I’m using the KeywordUtil.markFailed or KeywordUtil.markError and my test stops is being shown as Error and If I use in the @afterTestCase the testCaseContext.getTestCaseSta tus() to show the status test case...