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What Does "Culture Eats Strategy" Mean for You and Your Organization?

By Anthony Taylor - June 10, 2016

SME Strategy is a strategy consulting firm that specializes in helping organizations align their teams and operations around a shared vision, mission, values, goals, and action plans. Our strategic planning services offer guidance on how a strategic planning facilitator can provide support in constructing an effective strategic plan that ensures your strategy is communicated and implemented across your entire organization.



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.



Watch: Why Culture Eats Strategy for Breakfast


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 strategic planning 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. Watch: How to Start the Vision Planning Process.
  • 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.


We can help you align your team around a clear vision, mission, values, goals and action plans,

so you can lead your organization more effectively and get better results.

Book a call to discuss your options

"Talking the Talk" and "Walking the Walk"

As senior leaders, we know that talking about something is not enough. It's the actions we take that truly make a difference. This is where "rewarding the walk" comes into play. We need to ensure that we not only talk about desired behaviors, but also reward and encourage those behaviors in your people.

While fostering a strong culture is critical for organizational development and change management, it is only one part of the equation. To drive true transformational change within your organization, you must also focus on strategic planning and alignment. Consider partnering with a strategic planning consultant to learn about various strategic planning services, or take a peek at our sample two day strategic planning agenda.

Investing in management development training is also essential to developing your people and building a culture that supports our goals. By providing our managers with the tools and skills they need to lead and manage effectively, you can create high performing teams that are equipped to succeed in today's dynamic business environment.



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