Strategy & Culture – a Wholly Alliance
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The widely repeated slogan “culture eats strategy for lunch” is as misguided as it is colorful and decisive. But it suggests a mistaken choice. Strategy without culture means poor execution. And culture without strategy leads to the wrong choices.
Often organizations embark on a strategic planning process and give little or no thought to the building blocks of execution. An unimplemented (or unimplementable) strategic plan creates organizational cynicism, leaving the organization worse off than it would have been sans a strategic plan in the first place!
At the same time, some organizations seek to bolster its culture but do so without a strategic plan. This creates momentum that either directs energies to too many directions or to the wrong ones – or both. The resulting futility wastes resources and ultimately undermines the very culture the organization sought to create.
What comes first? There’s no simple answer that applies in every situation. The right culture encourages the fearlessness required for meaningful strategic planning. The right strategic planning creates a sense of order, direction and intentionality defining inspired objectives that spark culture.
Strategy and culture go hand-in-hand. They’re a Ying and Yang of great organizations.