Culture Really Does Eat Strategy for Breakfast
“Time and time again, I have had the opportunity to observe how organizations operate, viewing firsthand high-performing cultures where extraordinary things are accomplished on a daily basis. These are places where people are aligned and unified through unique social contracts.
Companies with a weak or broken culture struggle harder and are negatively affected by the deficit. This demonstrates what most leaders know or are learning: Culture is today’s major performance differentiator.
Culture creates the foundation for strategy and will either be a company’s greatest asset or largest liability. While culture has many aspects and manifestations, its core should include a clear sense of purpose and shared values that guide decision making across the company.
And culture is manifested in terms of behaviors like employees speaking up even when it’s uncomfortable to do so. Just ask employees of the Department of Veterans Affairs or General Motors for examples of unhealthy behaviors within their cultures as they grapple with cultural transformations. …
The very suggestion of change can make people within organizations uncomfortable because it is rarely an easy process. Cultural change must begin with reflective thinking, which allows for analysis, evaluation and synthesis of opposing viewpoints. The business leader needs to do the legwork to think through what he or she wants people to experience and how values will be translated into daily decision making. Setting aside the proper amount of time to think this through can makes all the difference and lead to a higher-performing culture.”