The secrets of successful groups

The secrets of successful groups

I finished reading The Culture Code by Daniel Coyle yesterday. I’ve been making my way through it on my bus rides to work for the last month or so. It’s brilliant. 

It’s a book about what makes groups and teams thrive. Why are some groups successful and others not? What are the ‘secrets’?

Drawing on inspiration from numerous great companies – including one of my favourite, Pixar – Coyle’s book left me with countless ideas for improving the team I lead and the groups I’m involved with.

The book is shaped around three core ideas – the three secrets that make for successful groups. And these are: 

  • Safety

  • Vulnerability

  • Purpose

The groups that flourish are those that create an environment that is safe for all its members. People are not worried that saying or doing one wrong thing will cause them to be kicked out. There is an environment of belonging, connection, and a strong sense of identity.

Successful groups also practice vulnerability. It’s OK to say, ‘I don’t know’. And yes, that’s true even as the leader. Perhaps especially so. Setting the tone of vulnerability creates the culture where everyone else will do the same. Great teams are mutually vulnerable in putting themselves out there, being honest, establishing trusting cooperation. If people don’t feel OK to risk, the best ideas will remain trapped inside people’s heads.

Finally, the best groups all have a strong and clear sense of purpose. And they have powerful narratives that enforce their goals and values.

I learnt a lot from this and will be recommending it far and wide. If you haven’t read it yet, check it out!

How to change the world

How to change the world