In the book “The Culture Code” Daniel Coyle describes the secrets or let’s say “the-unknown-until-now-behaviors-and-characteristics” of leaders who make group culture inviting and comfortable such that people want to participate in the group. Creativity is unlocked and innovation is fostered.
Coyle says of his experience researching eight of the world’s most successful groups, “I found that their cultures are created by a specific set of skills. These skills, which tap into the power of our social brains to create [successful] interactions are [as follows]:
Skill 1: Build Safety
Skill 2: Share Vulnerability
Skill 3: Establish Purpose
“These three skills work together from the bottom up, first building group connection and then channeling it into action.”
Of course, as I read, I thought, how can Streaking be used to bring these skills to life inside of each leader. The culture code is what Coyle uncovered, how to bring it to life is the job of Streaking. How then do you build streaks to help you develop a culture based on the three skills of successful cultures? In this article we will discuss the first skill of building safety and in subsequent articles I will tackle the other skills.
Skill 1: Build Safety
How do you move the concept of building safety into action. First let’s explore a little about what Coyle suggested is safety.
In an experiment on group culture, a person was put into the mix that was to do distracting or culture killing behaviors. In every group this person would act in ways that would make the group feel unsafe and therefore less productive, less willing to share, and ultimately render the group inert. In every group this person was in, the group would break down and be demoralized, except one.
In one of the groups the leader would not allow the detractor to get a hold on the group. Interestingly this wasn’t through direct confrontation it was through, “simple, small behaviors [that] kept everyone engaged and on task.” What were the behaviors?
When the detractor was a jerk, the leader would “lean forward, use body language, laugh and smile, never in a contemptuous way, but in a way that takes the danger out of the room and defuses the situation.” The leader also would, “pivot and ask a simple question that drew the others out, and he would listen intently and respond.” When the leader did this, the energy of the group increased, productivity increased, and the group would prosper. The people in the group felt safe and accepted because the leader skillfully squelched the detractor.
What streaks then might you set to develop these leader level skills? Just before introducing the streaks remember the laws for setting up a successful streak.
Law One – Make It and Keep It Laughably Simple.
Law Two – No Record, No Streak.
Law Three – Create or Join and Community
With that quick reminder following are a couple of streaks that, if you choose to adopt, can help you develop the skill of building safety:
Streak 1: Lean in and listen with your eyes and ears at least one time daily.
Every day you are interacting with people, partner, family member, friend, or acquaintance. When you are talking with these people intentionally choose at least one person to lean in and listen. Turn off the voice in your head telling you need to go, or there are other tasks to complete, or you don’t have time for this, and listen. Even if it is only for a moment, just turn off your inner voice, lean in and listen. The leaning in is the que to yourself to turn off your inner voice and let their voice be the only one that you hear.
Streak 2: Write at least one interaction question every day.
Asking questions are a skill that you can learn by writing those questions in moments where you are not on the spot trying to come up with them. Take a moment during the day and think about a person with whom you will be interacting and write down a question you might ask them. Think about their situation and what you might be curious about and write that question down. You may not use this question, which is fine, but writing the question builds your genuine curiosity.
Adopting these two streaks will actualize the skill of “Building Safety.” As you keep this streak alive, by the way you can use the Streaking app to track these two streaks and post about what you learn, you will start to see an impact on each of the groups to which you belong, work, family, friends, or other.
In my next article I’ll discuss how to actualize "Skill 2: Share Vulnerability."