“Culture eats strategy for breakfast”. Do you remember when this was the buzzphrase everyone was using? The way some people were using it made it sound like culture was king, and who needed a strategy anyway? The author who coined this phrase, Peter Drucker, didn’t mean that at all. He meant that a powerful culture was key to implementing strategy and accomplishing business objectives. 

This fact remains unchanged today. Organizations spend hundreds of thousands of dollars on building and rebuilding a strategy without ever thinking about culture and people, let alone execution. You can have the most amazing strategy but without the right people, the right environment, and the right tools and processes, it will fail. Instead of thinking about strategy, culture, and execution as separate pieces, we need to think about them as intimately interwoven together. Each element contributes to the next and plays an integral role in an organization’s success. 

Culture is the foundation of an organization — it shapes identity and values and guides the way people interact. A positive culture fosters employee engagement, loyalty and a shared sense of purpose. Culture is built every day. Every interaction, every conversation. When culture is not a priority, it begins to break down. A strong and healthy culture can be felt, as can an unhealthy one. When difficult times arise — and they will — a strong culture keeps the organization moving forward despite challenges.

While culture sets the foundation, strategy guides the organization. A well-defined strategy outlines the goals, priorities, and outcomes required to succeed. The strategy itself does not need to be complex but it does need to take into consideration market dynamics, customer needs, and the competitive landscape. The strategy acts as the North Star, where the company wants to go versus exactly how to get there.

Execution is about the how. Companies will often spend many hours creating the strategy but forget that thoughtful execution is the final lever. Execution is the bridge between the strategic vision and reality. It requires planning to turn the strategy into results and most importantly it requires measurement and accountability.

Companies with strong execution balance accountability and agility. They provide resources (human, financial, technology) to ensure employees have the tools required to implement their plans successfully. And because we know that no plan ever executes smoothly, companies also need to remain responsive and agile to emerging opportunities, customer needs, and market shifts.

When culture, strategy, and execution are interwoven, a company becomes a powerful entity. Companies that prioritize the cultivation of a positive culture, the development of sound strategies and the focused execution of plans are positioned to succeed by meeting (and exceeding) performance metrics, attracting and retaining the best talent and building a reputation of excellence.

Receive the latest news in your email