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What is the relationship between corporate culture and strategy

Corporate culture is an incredibly powerful factor in a company’s long-term success. No matter how good your strategy is, when it comes down to it, people always make the difference

A strategy that is at odds with a company’s culture is doomed. Culture trumps strategy every time – culture eats strategy for breakfast

Strategy is rational and logical

Strategy, at its core, is rational and logical, clear and simple. It should be easy to comprehend and to talk about. Without a clear strategy, a company is lost.

 

What is strategy

Culture is human

Culture, on the other hand, means different things to different people. It is emotional, ever-changing, and complex. Culture is human, vulnerable, and as moody as the people who define it.

It can be intimidating and frustrating, often leaving leaders dodging it, neglecting it, or discounting it. Because so many companies are run by people whose expertise is heavily skewed to the rational, financial, and legal side of the equation, culture is often subordinated, misunderstood, or unappropriated.

 

Culture and strategy

 

The relationship between culture and strategy

So what is the relationship between culture and strategy:

 

 

Culture is eating what it kills

Culture is eating what it kills – such as strategy, change management, innovation, operational efficiency, lean process and even including vision and mission.

 

 

Too often a company’s strategy, imposed from above, is at odds with the ingrained practices and attitudes of its culture. Executives may underestimate how much a strategy’s effectiveness depends on cultural alignment. Culture trumps strategy every time.

Article published:
This post was published in LeaderMag – Aug 2013

 

Short URL & title:
What is the relationship between corporate culture and strategy — http://www.torbenrick.eu/t/r/tsw

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About the author
Torben Rick Torben Rick

Experienced senior executive, both at a strategic and operational level, with strong track record in developing, driving and managing business improvement and development and change management. International experience from management positions in Denmark, Germany and Switzerland

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About the author
Torben Rick Torben Rick

Experienced senior executive, both at a strategic and operational level, with strong track record in developing, driving and managing business improvement and development and change management. International experience from management positions in Denmark, Germany and Switzerland

View full profile

7 comments on “What is the relationship between corporate culture and strategy

June 7, 2013 12:51 pm

Souhad

Dear Torben
i do totally agree with your statement that culture will eat the strategy on breakfast ,and i would like to take the point further with you and request your opinion about how to align a multicultural team operation with the market/client culture where you are getting a strategy developed by top management originated from different market that have their own culture too?
thank you

June 27, 2013 4:26 pm

ajish

Thanks for sharing this wonderful piece of content. I do agree with you on strategy and culture part. Some companies have good strategy but they drive the people like crazy.

July 26, 2013 12:23 pm

René

Dear Torben,

I cannot agree more with you. I have experienced the positive effect of creating a culture in my previous company where the right things happened almost by itself. I actively worked creating that positive culture supporting the companies strategies using a lot you described in your presentation.

I came to this believe after reading Tolstoi’s “War and Peace” which brilliantly supports your view.

Regards,

René

July 26, 2013 12:28 pm

Torben Rick

Thanks René

August 8, 2013 10:38 pm

Pad Kankipati

Very good article, on culture and strategy. One important fact is that both are needed to an organization though. Without proper strategy having a great culture will get nowhere and vice versa. Organizations that understand the culture, knows how to cultivate and promote it combined with a strategic direction/vision will always flourish. Will be able achieve goals that will benefit them both financially and organizationally.

To compare Strategy is like more like a Waterfall methodolgy whereas Culture is more Agile

August 14, 2013 3:39 pm

Andrea Finazzi

I would like to make a sport analogy to explain what I think about this. A great company culture provides for an overall strong team. But a strong team without a top-player, one that can really make a difference goes nowhere.
So, for me, the strategy maker is the top player.
It goes the other way around too: if you put a top player in a sorry team, you don’t get anywhere either.
So you need a combination of both.

September 21, 2013 7:46 am

Ali

Thanks a lot for you presentation. can I translate this article to farsi for my friends.

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