Culture eats strategy for breakfast. Period. Because strategy is in your every choice. Culture, in your every action. The topic of culture is one that is dear to me, so much so that I think and write about it as often as I drink Gatorade; which is almost every day.
Culture is also a topic that I get interviewed about the most. For example, below is a excerpt on what I said about culture on On Humans podcast:
Team culture is such a huge topic, but I’ve never stopped being a loyal advocate of building teams around culture and core team values.
At the end of the day every business, every organization, every institution is a group of people, right?
So what pushes you through, what maintains you and sustains you is how you get along, how you think and how you go about doing things.
Therefore culture is something you have to set as soon as possible and as soon as you get the very first chance. A lot of people think they can just let it happen – the culture will be shaped by itself.
No! You have to set it. A lot of people in many companies are like fish in water – they have not idea how they got there. They will never question themselves: “What am I breathing here?”
So you have to make it obvious for them and create an interesting narrative so it’s interesting and purposeful for them.
Again, culture eats strategy for breakfast.
Why? Because even a beautifully conceived strategy won’t be executed the right way if people’s values and beliefs are not aligned. In other words, culture is not mandated; it is shaped from the beginning.
As Louis V. Gerstner, former CEO of IBM once noted, “Culture isn’t just one aspect of the game, it is the game.”
From a perspective of innovation, cultures that constantly produce innovation share three characteristics: visionary leadership; an organizational commitment to breakthrough thinking; and a place that supports the work of innovation.
Not many organizations have this, do yours?
Bottom line: Culture matters, and has to be set from the very beginning. It’s not something that you outsource to some hot shot consulting firm, nor it’s something you leave up to chance; you have to define and forge it from the get go.