“Culture” and “Strategy” are often words banded around board rooms by senior leaders during snazzy presentations and discussions of the workings of their companies. While an immense amount of energy is driven into the thought process of operational strategies, a lot of the time, there is no deeper thought into the importance of how long-term strategies of vision and the businesses culture can affect the bottom line and most importantly, your team.
Strategy is of course important, it gives us a map of where we need to get to in 1, 2 or 5 years’ time, allowing a business to plan financially for investment and growth, commercially for client development and physically in terms of space and infrastructure to name a few key areas. But having a strategy alone is entirely objective. Only thinking about the “How” without the ‘Who”, there will be no execution of even the best strategies.
I am in an amazingly fortunate position of shadowing day to day, in my view, one of the greatest CEO’s. Giving me the opportunity to learn everything from leadership, strategy and of course… culture.
Culture is defined as the personality of the business; its essence and that hidden something you can’t really put your finger on which makes it tick. It’s so much more than a sales strapline, it is the definition of how you do business emotionally, ethically and morally.
For each business, strategy and culture can almost be like the chicken and the egg dilemma. Does a well-defined strategy driving success create a great culture or does investing in your culture, shaping attitudes and values the key influence in successful strategy planning?
From working in a business where your team are your greatest asset, getting your culture right is the most important place to start. Getting this right from the off-set can have a hugely positive effect in a team’s mindset to what you are asking of them to achieve whether its building a skyscraper, designing a new car or delivering a new creative solution for a client.
Of course, culture needs to be implemented correctly and responsibly. If used in the wrong way it can have immense negative effects, at worst, a fear culture or culture where equality does not exist. And it is here, where innovation of new ideas is crippled due to ill collaboration, too much focus on bottom line, and top-level ignorance.
This is why a business’s culture needs to be grown, lived and nurtured from the very top in the right way, filtering down across all areas of the business from the board room through to the most junior of roles.
A team living a company’s culture, living its values are more flexible, dynamic, adaptable. They can embrace large scale change and growth. Having this state of environment will organically create a more creative, collaborative and proud environment which can naturally drive even the most complex strategy from concept through to execution.