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Is Culture more important than Strategy?

I’ve read this so often lately I feel compelled to comment. I’m not sure whose behind this – consultants who haven’t had much luck getting clients to develop and implement strategy successfully? Tertiary institutions with money for research on organization culture? Whatever the cause, it smacks of a new fad to me. And what’s the bet a whole lot of organizations will get conned to start analysing their culture (using a consultant with a new ‘tool’ of course) to find out how they can be more successful? Don’t fall for it!!

Developing and implementing strategy can be tricky, it’s true. And it requires that tedious and exhausting task called Thinking! No time for that of course. No time to think about what’s changing out there, or what should be changing in here. No time to get the team on board. No time to properly implement. No wonder strategy failed!

So is culture the panacea? If we know our culture, can we play to its strengths and use that as our competitive advantage? Sounds much easier that all that strategic thinking. Just tap into what’s already there and hey presto! Success will come.

Well…..maybe.  If the strengths of your culture are likely to achieve your long term goals. Or if you can alter your business focus and goals to suit your culture (do I hear “forget the customer, let’s do what we like doing” about now?)

Yes it all sounds marvellous doesn’t it? Problem is that it’s hit and miss whether your existing culture will deliver success. After all, if that’s the case, shouldn’t you already be wildly successful?  Hmmm – slight problem.

Here’s an idea though – how about figuring out what type of culture WILL deliver on your long term goals? Then set about developing that. Gosh – sounds like Strategy to me.

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