Management Guru Peter Drucker famously stated that culture eats strategy for breakfast.
So, What does "culture eats strategy" mean for you and your organization?
In a very practical sense: No matter what business strategy or strategic plan you try to implement with your team, its success and efficacy are going to be held back by the people implementing the plan if the culture does not support it.
It means that if the people driving the strategy aren't passionate about the change, or worse, are apathetic to their job and to the organization, then you stand no chance implementing a plan.
You'll even have a hard time executing your normal business strategy, at the minimum.
What can you do today to start developing culture change within your organization?
There are lots of great managers who work really well with people - What might be missing is the underlying drive of culture in your organization.
Here's what you can do to start fostering a culture of strategic growth:
- Check the Pulse
- Take a survey of your people to get a sense of what they would change about their organization and what they would like to see in the future. Get them to start thinking about their ideal future, and how it might fit within your organization.
- Foster conversations
- Your people want to contribute to the success of their work place. Create a safe space for them to discuss what's going on and what needs to be addressed to make their work lives better and more fulfilling. They will appreciate the fact that the management/leadership is people focused, and they in turn will be more engaged with their work. (You can hire a skilled facilitator to help)
- Develop a vision
- People need to know where they are going and how they are going to contribute to that success. If there's no vision and no sense of direction, then you have no chance of getting aligned on a culture. The vision holds it all together.
- Celebrate short term wins
- Now that you know where you're going, make visible successes towards that path. Once people see that the change towards creating a culture is happening then it will start to get Real and they are more likely to get behind it and then you'll start to get momentum.
Developing culture is more than just having a set of values and a vision.
You need to live your culture and set the example. It needs to be part of everything you do, and it should act as a set of rules to help guide and empower your people with decision making.
You've no doubt heard about "Talking the Talk" and "Walking the Walk".
It's the difference between talking about something versus taking actions that are in line with what you're talking about.
One piece you might want to add is: "Rewarding the walk"
It's easy to say one thing, and do that same thing, but for desired behaviours to develop, you need to reward the activities that you want your people to embody.
Fostering a strong culture is a part of organizational development and change management. It's a critical part, but it's not the only part.
You will also need to align your culture, your people and your plan to make transformational change within your organization. If you're looking to develop your organization's strategy, learn about various strategic planning frameworks you can implement in your organization, or take a peek at our sample two day strategic planning agenda:
Here's a more in-depth walkthrough of the strategic planning process: