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Book/The Culture Code

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Recommended By:: Person/Matt Brockwell


Introduction: When Two Plus Two Equals Ten

He's getting inside the minds of groups with continued good culture and seeing how they are formed and how they tick

adults conferred, worked together and decided together to solve a problem. Kindergarten aged children tried many different things together

Skilled individuals don't always combine to produce a skilled result

The interactions between individuals matter far more than the skills of the individuals themselves

Skill 1: Part 1 "Build Safety"

> explores how signals of connection generate bonds of belonging and identity

Chapter 1. Title: "The Good Apples"

making people feel comfortable in a group boosts the output of the group. It allows people to feel safe chiming in with ideas

small behaviors make all the difference to diffuse unhelpful energy and reengage people. It's not about being a dominant leader

interesting to see a sense of "family" brought up. A company considering themselves a family is 9 times out of 10 emotionally manipulative and a major red flag of abuse

Chapter 2. Title: "The Billion Dollar Day When Nothing Happened"

Feeling connected to someone who cares about you and is paying attention makes you work harder. See D.I.S.C Theory

belonging cues actually switch how the amygdala processes things around you

belonging is a flame that needs to be constantly fed. Tight knit groups become close knit because of the continual work being done to cue that they are secure, safe, and welcomed.

Interesting that thinking about ancestors boosts a person productivity and cognitive performance. I wonder if that allows your mind to see the bigger picture, less focused on yourself. Kind of like Alexander Technique

The continuous work involved in making people feel like they belong sounds exhausting...

> "Empathy is not an infinite resource. And it's not free because it saps your strength for the fight. So if you boost one side, you'll make the other side weaker. And that is especially a problem when the side you're boosting is the side with power." .float-right The End of Empathy

Chapter 3. Title: "The Christmas Truce, the One-Hour Experiment, and the Missileers"

I worry a little bit about all these stories about creating a sense of belonging in the workplace. Real families (biological or self made) have bonds that go both ways, you're not going to give up on them and they're not going to give up on you. It's a relationship where the stakes are interpersonal and rarely are forced to change by an external force. The relationship between a company and its workforce is not the same. There is very real economic pressure that plays a key role in the strength and longevity of that relationship. No matter how much you have bonded if the company sees a downturn they'll be forced to sever that relationship.

I can't think of many scenarios where external factors would sever an interpersonal relationship, other than a toxic second relationship infecting the first

Chapter 4. Title: "How to Build Belonging"

The missileer and the basketball culture stories both seem to dance around toxic masculinity and the suppressing of emotional wellbeing.

I think I've experienced many of these belonging techniques individually and disingenuously from people who were only looking to manipulate me.

> "You are part of this group. This group is special. I believe you can reach those standards".

Popovich operates at 3 different scales of engagement 1) Nose to nose talking about positives 2) Feedback at a middle distance. Talking about how he believes you can meet the standards 3) Larger zoomed out perspective about the world at large, global events, and international happenings

Chapter 5.

Why does it seem that some many people right now are trying to re-invent community and city living? I swear I know of at least 5 people who've done something similar to Hsieh in the last 6 months

I have definitely experienced the effects of the allen curve myslef. At a previous job the company, due to limited space, set my desk up completely separated from the rest of my team and even most of my department. Did not go well as you might expect

I wonder how the allen curve can be taken into consideration in our new world of remote work. Some companies (salesforce for example) have said that they are going fully remote permanently. How do we create psychological closeness without physical proximity? Is that even possible? *

serendipitous personal encounters are the lifeblood of an organization

At a distance of less than 6 meters communication within a team skyrockets. At over 50 meters it completely dies.

Chapter 6. Ideas for Action

Is the 'professionalism' idea of separating work and personal life, to some extent, bullshit? Based on the studies by Amir Goldberg at Stanford and Lynn Wu of Wharton maybe the more you bring personal life into the workplace the more secure

How can we create cultivate safety in a group if we are not in a position of authority?

I'd be interested to see how the "no interrupting" works with different cultures and style of communication, take cooperative overlapping for example

So far much of the discussion in this book has been about belonging and group cohesion in terms of productivity. I'm equally as interested in how these dynamics play out in more social settings.

A lot of the incredulity about people's actions rubs me wrong. Why is it surprising that someone is picking up trash? What about being successful automatically makes people assume someone is better than them or somehow 'above' a menial task?

Maybe this has something to do with religious upbringing. Typically (healthy) religion places a strong emphasis on acts of service and humility and these traits are modeled by the community leader.

You need to over-communicate that you are listening. Even if we are listening it's often not obvious to the other person. Showing listening cues is just as important as actually listening.

Showing humility, especially as a leader, by bringing your fallibility explicitly into the light helps to foster a sense of togetherness

vulnerability works as a invitation to create deeper connection

Thanking someone has less to do with the thank you and more to do with reaffirming the relationship belonging cues

Pay attention to threshold moments, they are powerful moments of transition.

Separate positive and negative feedback into separate systems and avoid "compliment sandwiches"

Skill 2: Share Vulnerability

> explains how habits of mutual risk drive trusting cooperation

Chapter 7.

How do you get people on the same page and to accept this type of After-Action Review style communication?

Chapter 8 - Vulnerability loop

vulnerability loops are imperative and allow those previously separate to act together

Chapter 9

emotional vulnerability through physical vulnerability

Chapter 10

Chapter 11

Chapter 12

Skill 3: Establish purpose

> how narratives create shared goals and values


there's a lot of fear as I take notes that I'm "doing it wrong" that somehow the way that I am reading is incorrect, or inefficient, or goes counter to how everyone else is working


Introduction: When Two Plus Two Equals Ten

Instead of focusing on the task, they are navigating their uncertainty about one another. They spend so much time managing status that they fail to grasp the essence of the problem

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

Chapter 1. Title: "The Good Apples"

He doesn’t perform so much as create conditions for others to perform, constructing an environment whose key feature is crystal clear: We are solidly connected. Jonathan’s group succeeds not because its members are smarter but because they are safer.

A mere hint of belonging is not enough; one or two signals are not enough. We are built to require lots of signaling, over and over. This is why a sense of belonging is easy to destroy and hard to build.

Words are noise. Group performance depends on behavior that communicates one powerful overarching idea: We are safe and connected.

When we see people in our peer group play with an idea, our behavior changes. That’s how intelligence is created. That’s how culture is created.

Chapter 2. Title: "The Billion Dollar Day When Nothing Happened"

I mean, I remember that it happened, ... But to be completely honest, it didn’t register strongly in my memory because it didn’t feel like that big of a deal. It didn’t feel special or different. It was normal. That kind of thing happened all the time.

All this helps reveal a paradox about the way belonging works. Belonging feels like it happens from the inside out, but in fact it happens from the outside in. Our social brains light up when they receive a steady accumulation of almost-invisible cues: We are close, we are safe, we share a future.

Cohesion happens not when members of a group are smarter but when they are lit up by clear, steady signals of safe connection.

Chapter 4. Title: "How to Build Belonging"

The room shifted and became something of a seminar, a conversation. They talked. ... Popovich would create similar conversations on the war in Syria, or a change of government in Argentina, gay marriage, institutional racism, terrorism—it doesn’t really matter, as long as it delivers the message he wants it to deliver: There are bigger things ... to which we are all connected.

“Food and wine aren’t just food and wine,” Buford says. “They’re his vehicle to make and sustain a connection, and Pop is really intentional about making that connection happen.”

One misconception about highly successful cultures is that they are happy, lighthearted places. This is mostly not the case. They are energized and engaged, but at their core their members are oriented less around achieving happiness than around solving hard problems together.

how do leaders manage to give tough, truthful feedback without causing side effects of dissent and disappointment?

I’m giving you these comments because I have very high expectations and I know that you can reach them.

Notes:: The most motivating thing you can say to someone

build a relational narrative: You are part of this group. This group is special. I believe you can reach those standards

There were no speeches, just a series of intimate conversations. In a moment that could have been filled with frustration, recrimination, and anger, he filled their cups.

Skill 1 · Build Safety

serendipitous personal encounters—are ... the lifeblood of any organization, the key driver of creativity, community, and cohesion.

When an idea becomes part of a language, it becomes part of the default way of thinking.

Something as simple as visual contact is very, very important, more important than you might think, ... If you can see the other person or even the area where they work, you’re reminded of them, and that brings a whole bunch of effects.

Certain proximities trigger huge changes in frequency of communication. Increase the distance to 50 meters, and communication ceases, as if a tap has been shut off. Decrease distance to 6 meters, and communication frequency skyrockets. In other words, proximity functions as a kind of connective drug. Get close, and our tendency to connect lights up.

it’s not enough to not shoot them. You have to hug the messenger and let them know how much you need that feedback. That way you can be sure that they feel safe enough to tell you the truth next time.

Skill 2 · Share Vulnerability

vulnerability tends to spark cooperation and trust

People tend to think of vulnerability in a touchy-feely way, but that’s not what’s happening, ... It’s about sending a really clear signal that you have weaknesses, that you could use help. And if that behavior becomes a model for others, then you can set the insecurities aside and get to work, start to trust each other and help each other. If you never have that vulnerable moment, on the other hand, then people will try to cover up their weaknesses, and every little microtask becomes a place where insecurities manifest themselves.”

vulnerability is less about the sender than the receiver

vulnerability loop

Tags:: new word

Definition::A shared exchange of openness, the most basic building block of cooperation and trust

vulnerability ... is contagious

“Trust comes down to context. And what drives it is the sense that you’re vulnerable, that you need others and can’t do it on your own.”

Vulnerability doesn’t come after trust—it precedes it. Leaping into the unknown, when done alongside others, causes the solid ground of trust to materialize beneath our feet.

What made the difference in cooperation ... was ... how effectively people created relationships of mutual risk.

Cooperation, as we’ll see, does not simply descend out of the blue. It is a group muscle that is built according to a specific pattern of repeated interaction, and that pattern is always the same: a circle of people engaged in the risky, occasionally painful, ultimately rewarding process of being vulnerable together.

Exchanges of vulnerability, which we naturally tend to avoid, are the pathway through which trusting cooperation is built.

a good Harold doesn’t stay locked in the same story-space but allows players to make leaps to wildly different scenarios

You have to let go of the need to be funny, to be the center of things, ... You have to be able to be naked, to be out of things to say, so that people can find things together. People say their minds should be blank, but that’s not quite it. They should be open.

When we talk about courage, we think it’s going against an enemy with a machine gun, ... The real courage is seeing the truth and speaking the truth to each other.

It’s very hard to be empathic when you’re talking.

When you’re really listening, you lose time. There’s no sense of yourself, because it’s not about you. It’s all about this task—to connect completely to that person.

Building habits of group vulnerability is like building a muscle. It takes time, repetition, and the willingness to feel pain in order to achieve gains.

Listen Like a Trampoline: Good listening is about more than nodding attentively; it’s about adding insight and creating moments of mutual discovery

I’ve found that whenever you ask a question, the first response you get is usually not the answer—it’s just the first response ... You have to find a lot of ways to ask the same question, and approach the same question from a lot of different angles. Then you have to build questions from that response, to explore more.