Culture Eats Strategy — So Analyze and Align

Peter Drucker famously said that culture eats strategy for breakfast — and culture is never more important than when the job market is tight and your team members have many opportunities to go find a culture that’s more conducive to their happiness and development.

The January-February issue of the Harvard Business Review discusses, at length, work by the Spencer Stuart company on corporate culture. The framework establishes two dimensions of culture:

  • stability (consistency, predictability) vs flexibility (adaptability and receptiveness to change)
  • independence (autonomy, competition) vs. interdependence (integration, coordinating group effort)

from which derive eight cultural styles, as pictured below

Culture Types

Try thinking of various organizations and identify their corporate culture: Tesla may be about learning, while the SEC is about order and Huawei about authority. Where’s your organization? (Hint: disregard all official messages ad communication when doing your assessment; instead, consider what behaviors get rewarded, and what behaviors get punished.) And is the style of your team different from the corporate style? That may well create some alignment issues. Imagine being a purpose-led team in a result-oriented culture!

Finally, is your strategy aligned with the culture? If not, culture will eat strategy and dictate your future. Select your leaders and your organizational structure so they support and foster your strategy. And talk about culture, often and with everyone.

Would love to hear your analysis of your culture. Share in the comments.







where’s your company

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