Book Review: The Culture Code

What artifacts within your organization speak to safety and connections within individual members?   In what ways are you, as the leader, sending intentional belonging cues, showing that you make mistakes, and searching for methods to demonstrate servant leadership?  How do you unlock teams through simple, subtle questions in order to extend possibilities?  Daniel Coyle weaves specific strategies related to building culture as he shares stories from some of the world’s most successful organizations in his book, “The Culture Code: The Secrets of Highly Successful Groups.”

Culture is not something you are – it’s something you do.   

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While reading the book, I made notes of valuable insight.  Four full pages of sketchnotes can be summed up with these points:

  • Building safety hinges upon continually refreshed and reinforced belonging cues.
  • Sharing vulnerability begins and continues with the leader and is strongly linked to cooperation.
  • Establishing purpose is about providing clarity and repetition when aiming for proficiency and providing empowerment when aiming for creativity.

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A Framework for Vision-Driven Instruction and Leadership includes a compilation of Leadership Practice Considerations, aligned to each of the vision premises under the six articles of the Visioning document.  Three such considerations are:

Have I created a risk-free environment where teachers and students can achieve at high levels where individual talents are respected and valued?

How do my actions on a daily basis model positive interactions with students and teachers that provide a safe environment to share personal interests and talents?

Have I created an environment in which staff members are willing to take risks?

Methods, tips, and strategies to respond to the call of each of these considerations can be found with the specifics of Coyle’s stories of successful organizations.


I encourage you to read this book, reflect on its message, and take action to build the culture of your school and district.

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