Three Skills You Must Focus On To Improve Company Culture


One of my favourite books of all time is The Culture Code, by Daniel Coyle. It  is  full of real life stories, research and practical implementation ideas. 

It’s one of the books I give to all new clients I start working with to compliment the work we do together. 

Inside the book, Coyle shares three main skills that organisations should focus on when redesigning their workplace culture:

  1. Build Safety
  2. Share Vulnerability
  3. Establish Purpose


Build Safety:

Inside this section of the book, Coyle shares how to build safety and belonging through allowing people to make mistakes, embracing the messenger and how to over communicate your listening. 

He begins a chapter by saying “Building safety isn’t the kind  of skill you can learn in a robotic, paint-by-numbers sort  of way. It’s a fluid, improvisational skill – sort of like learning to pass a soccer ball to a teammate during  a game”. 


So what skills do we need to focus on to build this safety? 


Things like:

  • Actively invite input from your team
  • Avoid interruptions
  • Overdo your thank you’s
  • Making sure everyone has a voice
  • Be painstaking in your hiring process
  • Eliminate bad apples


My question to you is: “What does safety look like in YOUR  organisation?” When you work out what  it looks  like, sounds like and feels like, you can then create some measurables. And set a date  to review how it’s going. 


Read more here: 


Share Vulnerability:

“Combine your skills into a greater intelligence”. This is the key message from the opening story in this section. Coyle shares a story of a plane crash where three people combined their skills for greater intelligence and were able to walk away alive. 


The only way they could have done this? 


Be vulnerable. The pilot was asking for help from the team. You don’t usually hear that happen. Because, well the pilot is supposed to know what’s going on right? They are the leader? The one with all the answers. 


When this crash was put through the simulator, 28 times, not once did anyone else survive. By allowing ourselves to NOT have all the answers, be vulnerable and ask for help to combine skills for greater intelligence, we are able to create and innovate. 

Coyle goes on to write about vulnerability and cooperation and when he studied each vulnerability loop in real life, he found one signal that was present in each environment – “You have a role here. I need you”. 


Imagine if your boss had ever said that to you. Go on, really imagine it now. Your manager has just come up to you, being incredibly vulnerable and has said those words to you. 


How would you react? What would you do differently? Would it make you feel like you belonged? To try harder? To be more motivated?


I’m betting the answer to some of those is a  resounding yes. 

Some of his tips to put these ideas into action are:


  • Make sure the leader is vulnerable first and often
  • Over Communicate expectations
  • Deliver the negative stuff in person
  • Aim for candour- avoid  brutal honesty
  • Align language with action
  • Embrace the discomfort


Read more here: 


Establish Purpose:


What’s this all for? Why are we here? And why do we want to work for you?


These are the questions you need to answer if you want to truly understand your purpose, and then communicate it.


How do you build it? Coyle says “It’s not as simple as carving a mission statement in granite or encouraging everyone to recite from a hymnal of catchphrases”. He says to do the following things to find and build your purpose (without waiting for a crisis to cement one for you):


  • Name and rank your priorities
  • Where do you aim for proficiency and where do you aim for creativity?
  • Embrace the use of catchphrases
  • Measure what REALLY matters
  • Use artifacts
  • Focus on bar-setting behaviours


Read more here:


If you are really ready to redesign your culture (before it gets redesigned FOR you in the event of a crisis) get yourself a copy of the book. Visit Daniels website here for more in depth information: I can guarantee you’ll enjoy it! 

If you want to know how your culture is currently doing, reach out to request a Culture Survey of your organisation and let’s find your current strengths and weaknesses and develop a plan of action, using some of these principles. Email Emma at