The saying ‘Culture eats strategy for breakfast’ is repeated so often now, it has become quite an iconic statement, summing up much of what ails todays organisations.
Those words were apparently said by Peter Drucker in reference to why so much company strategy fails – his thinking is that it's not necessarily because the strategy is bad, it’s just that the organisation can't get its act together to make the strategy happen. Sound familiar? You only have to work for a few organisations in your career to realise how many are often their own worst enemy when it comes to getting the important stuff done.
The right culture (as opposed to a good culture) has always been critical to an organisations performance – anywhere from being able to turn an entire industry on it’s head, to adding that extra 5-10% performance improvement that makes all the difference to bottom line profit and stakeholder satisfaction. But today, as we face a commercial world where disruption and constant change are the norm, culture will be what defines whether an organisation not just thrives but also survives! Whether that culture needs to build a greater customer focus, drive product and service innovation or drive greater business efficiency, it is the one thing that will ensure strategy comes to life.
Most senior leaders, now recognise that creating the right culture for their organisation is essential to getting the important stuff done, and out-performing others. But what many don’t know is HOW to build the right culture. The question we commonly get is “I know our culture is working against us but how do we fix that?”
A lot of articles and advisors will tell you that culture is critical, but can’t begin to tell you what actually needs to be done to create that culture. One thing for sure is, you just can’t tell people what you want the culture to look like and expect them to quickly move there. Years of behavioural psychology research, and a long road of corporate failures, will tell you that approach just doesn’t work. We must never forget we are dealing with humans, and all their idiosyncracies, when it comes to shaping culture.
As we’ve often said at ON-Brand Partners , “the problem is not in the thinking, but in the doing”. So HOW do you put in place things that are going to shift that culture towards what it needs to be. After all, culture can often feel so intangible, so hard to define and therefore hard to actively manage, that a concrete plan to change it can seem elusive.
This is where ON-Brand Partners succeeds. With our integrated platform for change, you have a powerful and proven approach to changing your culture to one that supports (and energises) your strategy rather than eating it. And you may be surprised to know it’s all about changing the type, structure and nature of conversations happening in your workplace - our extensive experience across industries has proven that ‘transformation happens in the conversation’ and from there, the right culture will emerge.
As the CEO of one of our major clients said “what I’ve learned through all of this is that if you want to shift your company’s culture, you need to change the conversation throughout the organisation”.
We’d welcome you to give us a call to talk through what we do, and how we’ve helped others to successfully focus their conversations, to build the ‘right’ culture that can tackle a fast paced, disruptive world - head on! Because only when you change the conversation can you change the culture, and transform the business.
If you need more convincing on WHY culture eats strategy for breakfast, or at any other mealtime, take a look at these thought provoking articles. When you want to know HOW to change your culture, contact On-Brand Partners.
Culture Eats Strategy For Lunch - Fast Company
Why Culture Doesn't Just Beat Strategy, It Must Be the Strategy - INC
Culture for a digital age - McKinsey