#Does your culture eat your strategy?

Dear #CEO

Does your culture eat your strategy?

Peter Drucker, the management guru, author and educator, came up with the phrase ‘culture eats strategy for breakfast’, but what does it mean? In a nutshell, no matter how great your business strategy is, your plan will fail without a company culture that encourages people to implement it.

I agree with Peter Drucker, I would also go as far as to say that the TPS philosophy is just as much about culture building as it is about process improvement.

That is why respect for people, mutual trust, engagement through development of members problem solving,

As well as Andon (significant culture change principle and tool), Mendoumi (member care), Nemawashi (check and get buy in prior to implementation) to mention a few leads me to say:


Lets look at it for you as options to choose:

Option 1: We have a great strategy but a poor organisational culture.

So we don’t have culture and strategy coherence, we have dissonance in delivery.

The answers to the fundamental questions of: What businesses should the company engage in and what value proposition should you go to market with, is on the table.

Outcome: what happens is execution is poor, often leadership bow to an MBO style of execution which foments silo behaviour, as what is rewarded are results and not the road or WAY to achieving those results.

Option 2: We have a great strategy and a great organisational culture.

So we have culture and strategy coherence and consonance. We achieve synergy between the road to the results and the results achieved. People find meaning and purpose in what they do. Personal development comes from problem solving challenges which bring engagement and business results. The TPS and Toyota Way is a world class example of this. This is an organisation that is not only stable but proactive and aiming to be progressive in its everyday activities.

Option 3: We have a poor strategy and a poor organisational culture.

Here we lack synergy between strategy and culture, there is a dissonance all around. Most likely management is engaged in daily fire-fighting, employees are disengaged, best people leave, Leadership is either looking for the sacrificial lamb or soul searching for the right thing to do! We see the organisation at level 1, a reactive organisation, management is not in control.

Option 4: We have a poor strategy but a great organisational culture.

Once again we have a lack of synergy between strategy and culture, a major dissonance between peoples behaviours and quite possibly their expectations in relation to leadership showing direction. Direction being the key Point here as when I use the word direction I mean strategy.

Organisations in this state of being often muddle through in the hope something will change for the better.

Option 5: We have a great Organisational Culture with Direction.

You might say this is similar to option 2. Well to a point it is but what I am saying here is there is no formal strategy. What we have here, which I believe to be the case for most businesses, is an informal strategy born out of mutual trust, agreement and hope. There is no formal document. If you are seeking leadership in strategy and culture, formalise your strategy informally by agreeing on the direction.