Culture eats Strategy for breakfast

As the great Peter Drucker once said, Culture eats Strategy for breakfast. Yet I still see a multitude of business leaders that fail to understand that virtually all of the things that annoy them in their business organisation, find their root cause in the lack of attention and work on setting the Structure and Culture needed for their business to succeed.

Businesses organisations are at the end of the day, a group of people that are supposedly working together and should therefore be built, as shown below, from the ground upwards.

The foundation should be Structure & Culture – Do all your employees know exactly what their role is and what their responsibilities are? Do they know how their role fits within the whole organisational structure? Is your Organisational structure well set out, with clear reporting lines? What type of Organisation do you want? Is the culture within your organisation going to support the type of organisation needed to succeed in the market you are operating in?

Then comes Vision & Mission. What is the overall purpose of your business organisation? You need to make sure that the Structure and Culture are in line with the Vision and Mission you outline.

Can you then translate the outlined Vision & Mission in SMART objectives? Make sure these objectives are well aligned with the Structure and Culture and the Vision & Mission. These objectives need to be specific and not wish-washy.

How will these objectives will be achieved? This is where Strategy comes in. Strategy takes an overall generic look at the business and outlines a plan (strategic plan) of how the outlined objectives will be achieved, giving a general direction to the organisation within the context of the external environment the business operates in.

This generic direction, is then translated into broken down, operational plans called Tactics. This is where the minute details are planned to execute the outlined strategic direction.

Many business leaders I deal with, use 99.9% of their energy on Tactics. They focus just on operational issues. Its like wanting to build a house and focusing only on the washroom. Then they get frustrated when they see key persons within their business organisation, that do not pull their weight as they would like them to do. What do you expect if these people have likely never been given any proper outline of their role and how that role fits into the whole organisational structure and/or no effort was ever done in building an organisational culture that is in line with the needs of the business?

I sometimes laugh as I have meetings with Managing Directors and CEOs and as I am discussing with them how they need to adapt their organisational structure, the training their staff need to adapt cultures and the overall strategic thinking & direction that their business needs, I can see it in their eyes, that their minds are miles away, as they are only thinking on a staff member that resigned this morning or the compliant they heard about from a client or an issue they have with a supplier – all daily operational issues.

I hope business leaders have realised, in the past turbulent 2 years, that when times get hard, the only things you can rely on are the solidity of their internal structures and the flexiblity & strength of their organisational cultures. These are what will make it possible for your business organisation to be in a position to change, react, pivot and survive difficult times. No patch work will make this possible.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s