Culture is often said to “eat strategy for breakfast” because it has such a profound impact on the success or failure of a company. This phrase, coined by management consultant Peter Drucker, implies that no matter how well-crafted a company’s strategy may be, it will ultimately be undermined if the company’s culture is not aligned with that strategy.
Let’s explore exactly why culture is more important than strategy.
Culture shapes behavior
Culture has a significant influence on the behavior of employees within a company. It sets the tone for how people interact with each other, how they approach their work, and how they make decisions. If a company’s culture is toxic or dysfunctional, employees are unlikely to be motivated to work towards the goals outlined in the company’s strategy. They may even actively resist change or fail to collaborate effectively with their colleagues.
On the other hand, if a company has a positive and healthy culture, employees are more likely to feel engaged and committed to the company’s mission. They will be more motivated to work towards achieving the company’s goals and will be more likely to collaborate effectively with their colleagues to achieve those goals.
Culture drives innovation
Innovation is critical for the long-term success of any company. In order to stay competitive, companies must be able to continuously innovate and adapt to changing market conditions. However, innovation is not just about coming up with new ideas; it is also about having the right culture in place to foster and support those ideas.
A company with a culture that values creativity, experimentation, and risk-taking is more likely to be innovative than one with a culture that is risk-averse, bureaucratic, and resistant to change. If a company’s culture does not support innovation, no amount of strategic planning or investment in R&D will be able to overcome this cultural barrier.
Culture enables strategy execution
Even the best strategy is worthless if it is not executed properly. Execution is all about translating strategy into action and making it happen. However, executing a strategy requires more than just a plan; it requires the right people, processes, and culture in place to make it happen.
A company with a culture that values accountability, collaboration, and continuous improvement is more likely to be successful in executing its strategy than one with a culture that is siloed, bureaucratic, and resistant to change. If a company’s culture does not support strategy execution, then even the most well-crafted strategy will fail.
Culture attracts and retains talent
Attracting and retaining top talent is critical for the success of any company. A company with a positive and healthy culture is more likely to attract and retain top talent than one with a toxic or dysfunctional culture. In a competitive job market, top talent is likely to choose a company with a culture that aligns with their values and beliefs, and that supports their professional growth and development.
On the other hand, if a company’s culture is toxic or dysfunctional, it is likely to drive away top talent and make it difficult to attract new talent. Even if a company offers competitive salaries and benefits, if the culture is not right, employees are likely to leave or underperform.
Culture fosters customer loyalty
Culture fosters customer loyalty because it creates a sense of authenticity and emotional connection between the brand and the customer. When a company has a strong culture, it can communicate its values and beliefs in an authentic way that resonates with customers. This authenticity makes customers feel like they are part of something meaningful and makes them more likely to remain loyal to the brand. Customers who feel emotionally connected to a brand are also more likely to become advocates, spreading the word about the brand to their friends and family.
In addition, a positive culture can create a customer-centric approach that prioritizes customer needs and satisfaction. When employees are empowered to prioritize the customer, they can create an exceptional customer experience that fosters loyalty. A culture that values empathy, respect, and genuine care for the customer can make all the difference in creating long-term loyalty. When customers feel valued and appreciated, they are more likely to stick with a brand, even when faced with competitors offering similar products or services.
While strategy is undoubtedly important, culture is the foundation upon which any strategy is built. A strong culture creates a sense of purpose, fosters innovation, and empowers employees to take ownership of their work. It also creates a customer-centric approach that prioritizes customer satisfaction, leading to increased loyalty. When culture and strategy are aligned, businesses can achieve their goals and thrive in a competitive marketplace. However, when there is a disconnect between culture and strategy, even the most well-crafted strategy is bound to fail. Therefore, it is essential for companies to prioritize and invest in building a healthy culture that will serve as the backbone of their success.