Tuesday, August 4, 2015

Is Culture the #1 Root Cause to Fail Strategy

 Change the culture is the mindset. It is the employee mindset and behavior that expresses "culture."

Organizations rise and fall, not on the quantum of plans and resources, but on the capabilities to manage, lead, yet most importantly to execute. Great culture saves even the mediocre talent and plans. Many companies fail in execution more than 70%, and culture is often the root cause to such failures. It is about many different matters like resistance to change, silos thinking with competing agendas, lack of clear and decisive leadership, leadership actions inconsistent with strategy, poor communication of strategy, lack of accountability on follow-through; inability to measure impact, too focused on short-term results, and maybe the most popular and big obstacle: the spirit of business (culture) comes from the top (leadership) - and then making it meaningful to frontiers, translating strategy to execution, aligning the work to strategy, and those aspects are all part of culture. So is the culture the #1 root cause to fail strategy? Who do create the culture of a company? Can it be changed? How can it be remained for years or centuries?

Culture should begin from the senior management and then it will be followed by others. Leading by example, support from the senior leadership and coaching might be effective as well. It is important to make sure that the strategy has been communicated broadly and well understood by everyone. The emphasis of fieldwork, practical intelligence over theory, is very instrumental. It can probably never be repeated too often. It is also important to build concrete plans within each of the functional areas that support the strategy and ensure there is good alignment across the organization. Creating a culture that supports strategy execution is the work leaders should master. Many people talk about creating or changing cultures, but only a select few have lived or acquired that mastery.

The strategy is defined by vision and culture. If the strategy is about growth, whatever the way you make it, and then if there's no culture of execution, there would be no spirit, no positive attitude, and no good behavior. A culture defines people's attitude and the organization's process. First, you have to build a company culture that encourages your co-workers to think of new strategies to be implemented, then you've got to define a process to improve this idea by stimulating the development of it, or to shut it down as smoothly as you can, but not to discourage new ideas. Then you'll have to define the metrics to measure the success of the strategy, whether it's a strategy concerning growth, or employees satisfaction or clients satisfaction. It is also very important for the person who came up with the strategy to be given the credit for, it's also about building up a trustful and positive culture to advocate professionalism and innovation.

Culture is the critical success factors to support strategy execution. These success factors have to filter all the way through each layer of the organization for a unified execution. Culture unifies different groups of people. People have been the driving force of much of what mankind has accomplished. The degree to which culture supports strategy depends upon the degree to which culture unifies its efforts to realize critical success factors, and thus implement successful strategies. Successful strategies and a successful culture are interdependent. This might be a function of an emphasis on one aspect of Confucianism. It should also be noted that Confucianism does put a high premium on learning. And this can form the foundation of science, invention and ultimately innovation. Sometimes strategy makers spend more time designing the content of strategies than thinking how to implement them successfully. In other words, lack of accountabilities, lack of decision rights and inter & intra-divisional tensions are also culture aspects.

In all the conversations about culture, keep in mind that it is the policies, procedures, rewards and retributions that drive behavior and it is the employee behavior that expresses "culture." Change the culture is the mindset, although you can’t impose the desired culture to your organization, surely you can follow the principles and mechanism to transform your culture, and make continuous improvement as the right attitude and your brand, and more critically, make it as a catalyzer to execute strategy seamlessly.


A very good article that puts the simple facts in clear focus.

I agree, it has made an abstract subject seem practical, good read!

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