Synopsis: Successful groups share some common characteristics, primarily safety. A person's sense of belonging and security inside a group are huge determinants of success. Things that undermine this not only undermine the happiness of the team members but also their success. Our goal as leaders should be to create this sense of belonging and safety and encourage the interconnectedness of our team members.
Below are one sentence summaries of the book organized just like the book is in the table of contents. The sentences are not copied from the book but are in my own words, so take them with a grain of salt. (Larger headings are sections and smaller headings are subsections.)
Skill 1: Build Safety
In order to lead a successful group, make sure everyone feels safe.
The Good Apples
Bad apples (people) can singlehandedly destroy a group, but a good apple can singlehandedly maintain the group's connectedness, even in the face of a bad apple.
The Billion-Dollar Day When Nothing Happened
Jeff Dean works in a company that encourages him to experiment and innovate and he turns Google into Google.
The Christmas Truce, the One-Hour Experiment, and the Missileers
If we're connected, if we share a future, and if we're safe together, we'll build a successful culture.
How to Build Belonging
Belonging is created with cues, so pay attention to them and give them with intention as the leader.
How to Design for Belonging
Design for collisions and aim for clusters of communication.
Ideas for Action
Say thank you, even for criticism, be fallible, think about a shared future, and make sure everyone has a voice they're comfortable with using.
Skill 2: Share Vulnerability
Successful groups are comfortable enough together to be vulnerable because they're not worried about whether or not they appear strong or to be an authority.
Tell Me What You Want, and I'll Help You
Three pilots walk into a cockpit and tell each other they need help, and magic happens.
The Vulnerability Loop
Hey, I'm vulnerable, you're vulnerable, too, but we're both okay—this is a safe group to be in.
Be shameless in your interdependence with the rest of the group and support the group with all of your being, knowing they will do the same for you.
How to Create Cooperation in Small Groups
Flatten the hierarchy, allow people to speak up, and create forums for everyone to be active in the decision making—you should be able to leave your group as the leader and they should still be able to function without you.
How to Create Cooperation with Individuals
Be a Nyquist by asking questions that connect people and open possibilities.
Ideas for Action
Be okay with discomfort, be intentional with language, develop and coach rather than being single-mindedly focused on metrics.
Skill 3: Establish Purpose
Shared purpose brings people together—start with why.
Three Hundred and Eleven Words
Johnson & Johnson discussed their Credo, decided to stick with it, and it aligned the entire company in a time of crisis.
The Hooligans and the Surgeons
High-performance environments send lots of signals about a shared purpose, whether that's being peaceful or learning a new surgical procedure.
How to Lead for Proficiency
For proficiency, you want to outline values in clear and succinct heuristics that are easy to follow.
How to Lead for Creativity
For creativity, heuristics are still great but it's important that they encourage the group to be open-ended and cooperative.
Ideas for Action
Set the bar with small behaviors, measure what matters, display artifacts and symbols, embrace catchphrases, and be clear in definitions of proficiency and creativity.