Culture eats Strategy for Lunch[cu1] ”-Peter Drucker.

How does that sound? Familiar with the dictum[cu2] ? We shouldn’t worry about its common usage but its essence.  Most corporate strategies failed because of poor alignment, strategy is celebrated, and culture is relegated as an intangible[cu3]  , whose effect cannot be measured. A successful CEO is one who knows that culture is a balanced blend of human psychology, attitudes, actions, and believes that when combined could create either pleasure or pain, exciting momentum or miserable stagnation.  A great understanding of this perceptive [cu4] makes a CEO drive a strong culture that eschews status quo or resistance to change. A CEO [cu5] must drive corporate culture that promotes flexibility and enables an organisation to flourish. A great culture enhances performance-with qualitative or quantitative performance that comes in terms of better financial growth with high employee involvement; strong internal communication and an acceptance of a healthy level of risk-that drives innovation. An understanding of its [cu6] efficacy and resilience with its propensity to drive transformational growth and sustain organization for a long time to come drives strong culture and this create sets of values and norms that dynamically provides operational guidelines; prompt employee to actively and passionately engaged in the business, instill sense of confidence without feeling miserable and streamline extensive procedures and mind-numbing bureaucracy.[cu7]  

Often, organizations tend to misunderstand the silver lining and place more value on strategy than culture and this leads to strategy misalignment and poor performance in strategy execution[cu8] .  Shaw of “fast company” said Culture, like the brand, is misunderstood and is often discounted as a touchy-feely component of business that belongs to HR. It’s not intangible or fluffy; it’s not a vibe or the office décor. It’s one of the most important drivers that have to be set or adjusted to push long-term, sustainable success.  Why did Peter Drucker coin the statement? Drucker draws the line between strategy and culture.  He says  “make plans possible but what drives ultimate success is your corporate culture”. why do vibrant organizations consider it a factor for building a strong organisation?  Why is it expedient to innovation, empathy, value creation for customer satisfaction, brand development, collaboration, team-spirit, and problem-solving among others? According to Joe Tye, CEO and Head Coach of Values Coach Inc. “the reality is that culture and strategy interacts, and in the ideal case they are mutually reinforcing”. however, people are more loyal to culture, than strategy. Culture provides resilience in a tough time and is more efficient than strategy.  What kills an organisation fast is weak culture, not strategy, and an organisation with a great culture grows stronger.

  • What does your culture say?

Achieving a robust culture require an intentional effort.  Intentionality is procedural and becomes the art, norms and attitude that determine the future.  Southwest Airlines, number seven on Fortune’s Most Admired Companies list , created an intentional “employee-first” organisational culture “Their mantra “We believe that, if we treat our employees right, they will treat our customers right, and in turn that results in increased business and profits that make everyone happy. ”And the profitability that results from organisational culture isn’t inconsequential.  According to McCarthy in her article why organisational culture matters argues in support of Southwest Airlines’ culture by quoting a recent study from the University of Warwick that worker happiness led to a 12% spike in productivity, while unhappy workers are 10% less productive.  Organizational culture keeps employees happy and bottom lines prosperous. However, as earlier stated, such positive culture are not accidental, they are the aftermath of high choreographed processes. Simply put, it’s a deliberate exercise. To succeed in the age of continuous disruption, organisations must ensure a proper alignment of culture with strategy. Let us put it this way, the two are like people taking vitamins for different reasons than they take painkillers[cu9] . Vitamins are used to ward off problems, sustain energy and to build up immunity. Painkillers are an after-the-fact solution to a serious problem. Still, both vitamins and painkillers are active drugs to resolving a problem. A lackadaisical approach that hopes to see culture fall into place and align to strategy is a recipe for disaster. Corporate executives must ensure that the culture process is perfectly synchronized with all employee-enabled process such as recruitment, retention management and dismissal.  There is the need to get your culture to stick in the mind of people if you are to realise your goal of becoming the preferred option in the market place.  Not all vitamins and painkillers have strong appeal to people; often, people tend to associate with only a brand that is successful and that they could trust. This explain why some  brands are more popular than the others e.g Starbucks over Caribou Coffee, iPhone over Infinix. However, the purpose of branding your organisational culture goes a bit deeper: it gets your people to choose you and your message over your competitions.  It is also important to see what your employee says about your corporate culture.  Hence conduct a periodic internal survey to understand the effect and effectiveness of your culture, if it doesn’t bring cohesiveness and make employee see themselves as part of the team, then there might be the need for corporate culture change.

Nordstrom’s culture fascinates me, no ambiguity; no complexity, not worded, not many rules, and just a simple statement.  Since her creation in 1901 in Seattle, the culture and mantra has been “use your good judgement in all situation”.  With over 250 stores and shipments to 44 countries through her outline website, Nordstrom remains stronger, because culture is in service, not a department where people are employed to answer calls and complains.  Bobs say this about the experience: “One secret to its team’s success is its notable relative absence of rules and guidebooks. According to Nordstrom, “We don’t like to make decisions about customer service in the boardroom. We leave it to the people closest to the customers. Our #1 Rule is Use Good Judgment. By not having many rules, you empower associates to innovate and come up with solutions for customers.” Therefore, Nordstrom trained and retrained employee to achieve great fit beyond their competitions.

Blake Mycoskie founder of Tom shoes built an organisational culture that transient[cu10]  strategy.  “for a pair of shoe bought, a pair is given to a child in need”  An incredible act of creativity, philanthropy and loyalty, these three determine who  Tom shoe is.  When he went to Argentina in 2006 and saw children barefooted, he was motivated to do something about it and since that trip he has provided over  60million pairs of shoes through humanitarian organisation that incorporate shoes into their community development.  He has also used same to provide 400,000 eyeglasses to restore sight in 13countries, launched Tom Roasting where a purchase of bag help provide safe birth service to a mother and baby in need.  Joe Tye referred to him as “culture icon”   Do you have a resilient culture; a stagnant culture; a corrupt or brittle culture.  Your culture is your brand that creates competitive differentiation and advantage.  Our expertise at BROOT is helping to align your culture to your vision, mission and value; we help transform organisational culture to breed change and inclusive growth that impact and translate customer engagement into an exciting and highly rewarding experience.  We ma


 [cu1]If this is not the title of a book, We can have it in lower case

 [cu2]Considering that the next sentence refers to the quote as “commonly used” I think this should be changed to “mantra”

 [cu3]I think that both strategy and culture are both intangible concepts.

more so, I believe that the sentence is incomplete “…relgated as an intangible ???”

 [cu4]Perhaps you meant “perspective

 [cu5]I think that this has been over-used.

I suggest Leader, Executive, Chief Executive

 [cu6]Does this refer to organizational culture?

 [cu7]I wish we could restructure this part. I will like to, But I don’t understand this section.

 [cu8]I think that this idea has been expressed on the third line of the first paragraph

 [cu9]This sounds disjointed

 [cu10]I don’t understand. Bu the sentence seems faulty to me.


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