Culture vs. strategy – What’s more important
The best strategy in the world won’t work if the culture doesn’t fit
The most important thing about organizational culture is that it’s the only sustainable point of difference for any organization. Anyone can copy a strategy, but nobody can copy a culture.
The best businesses are the ones that have a culture that links everyone together, no matter what department they’re in. And if employees become engaged with the company, the strategy is more likely to be “owned” by all and focused upon.
Corporate culture doesn’t just happen
If leaders weren’t already aware of the importance of organizational culture then the many cases where organizational culture have lead to disasters have certainly brought it to light. Companies should be performance driven and values led. To many of the companies are simply performance driven.
Culture has to originate somewhere though. It doesn’t just happen. It is a leader’s responsibility to identify a cultural vision for the company, live and breathe it themselves, and then help to steer the rest of the company in the right direction. Culture comes directly from the behavior of the leaders, and it is their duty to involve and inspire the whole of the organization.
The culture of a company relies on there being a clear set of values, strong leadership and a sense of transparency and honesty between the company and the public. These factors will be the ones that differentiate a company in times of austerity and increased competition.
From the Booz & Company research “Why Culture Is Key.”:
Culture matters, enormously. Studies have shown again and again that there may be no more critical source of business success or failure than a company’s culture – it trumps strategy and leadership. That isn’t to say strategy doesn’t matter, but rather that the particular strategy a company employs will succeed only if it is supported by the appropriate cultural attributes.
Build a strong corporate culture
Of course strategy is important but this must be accompanied by a strong culture if lasting success is to be won.
Basic “building blocks” to build a strong culture:
- Dynamic and engaged leadership – Know what’s going on at all levels of the organization
- Living values – Rather than frame values in the conference room, model the values throughout the organization on a daily basis
- Responsibility and accountability – Recognize employees’ talents and be clear about what they are responsible for
- Celebrate success and failure – Celebrate big and small victories, and make a point about learning from mistakes
Without culture, everything else cannot work
Without culture, everything else cannot work. Strategy will only succeed if it is supported by the appropriate cultural attributes.
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Organizational culture more important than strategy — https://www.torbenrick.eu/t/r/brr
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About The Author
Experienced senior executive, both at a strategic and operational level, with strong track record in developing, driving and managing business improvement, development and change management. International experience from management positions in Denmark, Germany, Switzerland and United Kingdom