Podcast #388: The Culture Code

Have you ever been part of an organization where everyone and everything just seemed to click? People are motivated and things get done. Contrast that experience with being part of an organization that feels toxic. Demoralization, cynicism, and infighting emotionally drain the people who work within it, and dysfunction reigns. 

Why do some organizations thrive and others flounder? My guest today argues that it all comes down to culture.

His name is Daniel Coyle and he’s the author of the book The Culture Code: The Secrets of Highly Successful Groups. Today on the show Dan and I discuss how cultures are formed and what the famous Christmas truce during WWI can teach us about culture formation. Dan then shares the factors that create positive group cultures, including action steps you can take to implement these elements in the organizations you lead or belong to. If you’re a leader in any capacity (this includes being a dad), you don’t want to miss this episode. 

Show Highlights

  • What led Daniel to the shift in writing about talent to writing about culture and groups
  • Everybody’s “secret” second job at work 
  • Do group cultures form even if you aren’t conscious about it?
  • What are the elements of a positive culture?
  • Do offices and groups need to have fun in order to succeed?
  • Shallow fun vs. deep fun 
  • What is Gregg Popovich (San Antonio Spurs) doing to get his players to love him?
  • How great leaders balance love and truth 
  • How close physical proximity and a shared meaning foster understanding and connection
  • Why suffering together creates unbreakable bonds 
  • Why our nuclear missileers have such a poor group culture 
  • Can one person make a difference in turning around a toxic culture?
  • What can a leader do to fix or improve group culture?
  • Why defining and naming key behavior changes is so important 
  • How long does it take to change a group’s culture?
  • Why over-communicating can actually be a good thing 
  • The power of cheesy catchphrases 
  • The role of vulnerability in group cultures 
  • How to celebrate failure  
  • How Pixar continues to make spectacular movies 
  • Balancing feedback and criticism with maintaining leadership and integrity 
  • How leadership/management changes depending on the aims of the group 

Resources/People/Articles Mentioned in Podcast

Connect With Daniel 

Daniel on Twitter

Daniel’s website

Daniel on Facebook

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