We have all heard Peter Drucker’s declaration that “culture eats strategy for breakfast”. This has come from years of research culminating in the conclusion that culture is pivotal to a company’s performance and long-term prosperity. In simple terms, it is the people within an organisation and how they behave collectively that either makes or breaks that organisation, irrespective of the strategy. Drucker’s assertion is an understandable challenge to the traditional leanings of organisations and their leaders, who often become fixated on strategy while neglecting the human element that pulls it all together.
While it is inarguable that collective behaviour determines organisational outcomes it is also true that, without a clear strategy, it is nearly impossible to effectively channel collective behaviour and effort toward shared goals. At TMS, we do not adhere to the belief that “culture should eat strategy for breakfast”. Rather, we advocate for a more harmonious feast – one where culture and strategy dine together. This calls for an all-encompassing approach where both culture and strategy share the spotlight, align their objectives, and become each other’s champions.
So, why does – or should – this matter to leaders and organisations? In practical terms, organisations are dynamic systems, akin to intricate machinery where every component must work synchronously for optimal performance. Just as a complex machine’s interconnected parts require regular attention and upkeep to function harmoniously, as complex systems, organisations require the same level of diligence. When culture and strategy are not aligned, or work in discord, performance declines, employees disengage, and long-term organisational success is undermined.
Aligning culture and strategy is a complex but critical task for leaders. To ensure that culture and strategy are aligned and equally championed in an organisation, leaders need to take the following steps:
Aligning culture and strategy is an ongoing process that requires time and dedication. It is not a one-time effort but a continuous journey that should be woven into the fabric of an organisation. TMS can support leaders to ensure that their organisation’s culture and strategy are sitting down to breakfast together so that they are crating sustainable, high-performing organisations. If you’d like to discuss how we can help your organisation, contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org.