The Culture Code

Hi and welcome to another week,

I need to start off this update with some congratulations.  First off, well done to all of those hardy souls (like me!) who slogged their way through the ‘Elevator’ challenge.  I know this week has been super tough – FIVE (5) x classes plus a tortuous cardio ‘adventure’ (featuring SPARC sprints and sled pushes for a good 40 minutes or so!) and if you got to the end you have done a bloody good job!  Secondly, congrats to everyone who headed up to Osborne Park to compete in the Gladiator Games…only a few R1 teams entered this year but I just think it is amazing that people not only want to do the stuff we do in the gym for ‘FUN’, but they also want to do it ‘FASTER’.  Hell, most of the time when I am training I am trying to figure out how to LOWER the intensity, not pick it up!  Just as well not everyone is of the same mindset as me!

We have some cool sessions planned for the week ahead – I am particularly looking forward to Wednesday’s ‘No Minute’ rounds (well, the clock will run but you just work your way through the boards from station to station.  I always love these type of sessions and we don’t do them that frequently.  I also wanted to make a quick mention of our FOUR (4) work-out boards dotted around the gym for those people who cannot make a class.  Upstairs in the globo-gym area we have a full-body workout, behind the treadmills is a ‘Cardio’ workout and behind the Power Racks are our ‘WOD of the week’ and ‘Strength Workout’.  These boards are all updated each week (on a Saturday) so if you are ever going to miss a class, you can ALWAYS come to the gym and still not have to ‘think for yourself’.

Before I go on, I did want to quickly remind everyone about the parking situation at Round 1.  Please don’t park in the bays associated with other businesses…EVER.  Just don’t do it.  This morning there was a bit of a saga with the bays in the units to the south of the gym…as it turns out, the problem wasn’t with us – but there were a few Sunday gym-goers parked in there…which didn’t make any sense because there were spare bays in our own carpark.  Please do the right thing guys and park on the street OR in our carpark.

OK – onto the blog.  I am in the process of reading the greatest book ever written – it is called ‘The Culture Code – The Secrets of Highly Successful Groups’ and is authored by Daniel Coyle (who also wrote ‘The Talent Code’ – another must read book, as well as ‘The Secret Race’ which is a pretty amazing story of doping and corruption in the Tour de France).  Anyway, it (

‘The Culture Code’ is all about trying to create an organisational culture that is ‘positive’ and enables participants to achieve at the highest level to which they are capable.  Or something.  And of course I have been reading through it trying to tie all the stories back to things that happen every day at the gym.

If I skip to the summary, great culture is (according to the author) based on three (3) things:

1/.  Start with Safety

2/.  Get vulnerable (and stay vulnerable)

3/.  Roadmap your story.

Now I will come back to all of that in a bit, but first I want to share a story that the author shared in the book to try and illustrate the type of environment organisations should aspire too according to the ‘culture code’.

There is a restaurant in the book where the service team are described as the ‘Navy Seals’ of service teams (oddly enough, there is a REAL Navy Seal team example from the same chapter!).  In it, a new waiter is about to take on her first shift after spending 6-months or so working in the back of house, shadowing other waiters…doing a whole heap of stuff that you would think would have you A1 prepared for the job.  Before her shift started, the duty manager came over to speak to her – the author indicated he thought he wanted to share some words of positive encouragement, but INSTEAD this is the way it went (and I am paraphrasing of course! J).

“Today is not going to go well.  I guess it could, but the odds of things going well are really, really, really, really, really, really, really, really small.  We are going to know that today’s shift has been a success by the number of questions you ask.  If you ask for help at least TEN TIMES, that is a success.  If you try to go it alone, well…”

The idea of course is that they are trying to establish and create an environment where people freely answer questions, happily help one another and – most importantly – continually communicate.  The point is made that only through awkward conversations/painful interactions can a cohesive, trusting environment be created…and I am going to come back to THAT.

Back to the ‘Three Pillars’ (or whatever they are of great culture) – ‘Start with Safety’ – ‘Be vulnerable’ – ‘Create a Roadmap’; if you broaden the descriptions following on from the example of the restaurant, well…

‘Start with Safety’ – The new waiter had been at the organisation for a long time and had established positive relationships with other staff PLUS understood the way the business worked (back in the kitchen and in the dining area) before being thrown to the wolves.  She was in a situation where she expected to succeed and was confident she could.

‘Be vulnerable’ – This was all about being not only given permission to regularly ask for help, but being told she absolutely should…and that it was not only OK with the rest of the team, they all actively hoped that she did so they would be able to help her out.

‘Create a roadmap’ – Well, this is a bit trickier to glean from the example I guess…but the thing I understood from reading it (and I could be wrong) was that her instructions for the shift weren’t around ‘mechanics’ (or how to do it) or even talk about how there were ‘standards’ to be upheld…they were all about guiding the behaviour around interaction with other staff.

Anyway, if I flip all of this back to the gym, in so many ways this whole ‘create a safe environment’ just HAS to be the basis of our sessions.  The more questions asked of us and the more chances we have to interact with you all, the better we can provide a positive environment for you all to train in (and, of course, achieve whatever outcomes you are chasing…aka the roadmap).  I know our overall and stated goal (read it on the walls of the gym) is ‘We help change Lives’ – and that hasn’t changed.  But 100% we are better able to do that when we understand EXACTLY what issues you have, what things you are chasing, what things are standing in your way…the list goes on.

To paraphrase the restaurant example, if you are coming along to the gym a couple of times a week and not engaging with the trainers, asking questions, challenging them to help provide you with a roadmap…well, you are not giving yourself the BEST chance of success.  Sure, the classes are a lot of fun and I am sure you will get a bit fitter and stronger just by showing up, but if you really want to change then you need to be a bit vulnerable, ask some questions and really put yourself out there…hopefully (hopefully) we have created an environment where you feel SAFE to do exactly that.

Anyway, that’s kind of it for this week.  I did want to include a link to an article I think everyone should read about losing/gaining/maintaining weight.  It is awesome.  I have scheduled a social media post linking to it that will go up tomorrow…I might even email it out separately ‘cos it is that good.  Anyway, here it is:

Let me know if any of this sounds good (or not) with an email to

See you in the gym,