Culture Code (Ideas for Action Creating safety is about dialing in to…
Ideas for Action
Creating safety is about dialing in to small, subtle moments and delivering targeted signals at key points
Overcommunicate your listening
Prove that you are in sync with someone with body language, do not interrupt and listen.
Spotlight your fallibility early on
Show that you make mistakes and are vulnerable. Invite opinions, it is hard for people to answer genuine questions from a leader who asks their opinion.
Embrace the messenger
Be grateful for the messenger and the feedback and demonstrate that, so they will feel safe to do it again.
Preview future connection
Show how your future together could look like, the possibilities that comes with the relationship.
Thank-yous are not only expressions of gratitude; they are crucial belonging cues that generate a contagions sense of safety, connection, and motivation.
Be painstaking in the hiring
Deciding who's in and who's out is the most powerful signal any group sends, and successful groups approach their hiring accordingly.
Eliminate bad apples
No jerks - successful teams have low tolerance to bad apple behavior and most important and are very skilled at naming these behaviors.
Experiment - Bad Apple
A Jerk/Slacker/Downer can bring down the performance of a whole team.
A good apple, someone who can make is safe, include people and show that they matter to the group can cancel the impact and improve groups performance.
Proximity, eye contact, energy, mimicry, turn taking, attention, body language, vocal pitch, consistency of emphasis, and whether everyone talks to everyone else in the group
They answer the question: Are we safe here? What's our future with theses people? Are there dangers lurking?
Energy: They invest in the exchange that is occurring
Individualization: They treat the person as unique and valued
Future orientation: They signal the relationship will continue
The cues say: "you are safe here". They notify our vigilant brain that they can stop worrying and enter in connection mode. It is called psychological safety.
Good teams prefer to refer to themselves as family
Close physical proximity, often in circles
Profuse amount of eye contact
Physical touch (handshakes, first bumps, hugs)
Lots of short energetic exchanges
High levels of mixing - everyone talks to everyone
Lots of questions
Intensive, active listening
Small, attentive courtesies (thank-yous,etc)
The informational content is not as important as the belonging cues. A group performance can be measured by
Everyone in the group talks and listens in roughly equal measure, keeping contributions short.
Members maintain high leels of eye contact, and their conversations and gestures are energetic
Members communicate directly with one another, not just with the team leader.
Members carry on back-channel or side conversations within the team.
Members periodically break, go exploring outside the team, and bring information back to share with others.
Experiments on belonging cues
People worked harder/, longer, with best results on puzzles after receiving a note with a tip from a colegue.
People lent their phones 5x more to stranger because the borrower said "I'm sorry it's raining before asking"
Google beat Orverture to the ads market because it created a culture of safety and belonging among their team.
People who received monthly caring messages from the hospital after been admitted for suicide attempt, came back 50% less often.
Belonging and feeling part of a group happens from outside in
Brain scan reveals our amygdala reacts to belonging cues and changes reconfigures our entire motivational and decision-making system.
Belonging cues are important, but you need a narrative - a steady flow of them - to create a strong group.
Cohesion happens not when teams are composed by smarter people but when they are lit up by clear, steady signals of safe connection.