Company Culture vs. Business Strategy
A few weeks ago, Fast Company blogger Shawn Parr, set off a debate that wages on weeks later with his entry, Culture Eats Strategy for Lunch. At its crux is the argument that culture trumps strategy when it comes to predicting long-term business success. Just look at companies with strong, performance-driving company cultures, like Zappos, Google, Southwest Airlines, and Starbucks, to see how dynamic leadership, a well-integrated set of values, empowered and accountable employees, and a culture of celebrating have helped make these businesses successful.
The following week, Bob Frisch responded with Culture Vs. Strategy is a False Choice. While not exactly against the idea that culture matters, Frisch argues that many a company with a great culture but mediocre strategy has gone the way of the mastodon.
This week Shawn Parr responds with Don’t Let Culture Vultures Scuttle Your Strategy. Parr starts off with a bit of a “No, duh” to Frisch, arguing that of course a business must have a good strategy, though sadly many don’t, yet any company can benefit by having a culture that mobilizes manpower around that strategy.
Every company has a culture, the emotional, human side of their enterprise, and if leaders ignore that side of their company to focus only on the strategy, they’ll miss the opportunity that a strong culture provides for an organization to operate at its fullest potential, executing on the strategy with a level of passion and commitment that a great strategy with an unhealthy culture would struggle to muster.
Why does this matter to companies interested in building great workplaces? Many of you have told us that you have trouble selling leadership on the “soft stuff,” on the business case for building a strong company culture. Still, time and again the data plays out to prove that a strong company culture drives business success. Parr’s final entry on how culture can make or break your business, really helps drive this point home.
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Leslie Caccamese serves as Senior Strategic Marketing Manager with Great Place to Work® Institute.