Organisational Culture: Culture eats strategy for breakfast

by | Nov 23, 2020

Culture eats strategy for breakfast” said Peter Drucker. Of course strategy is important, but the implementation of that strategy is more likely to be successful within the context of a strong and healthy organisational culture.

Last week I participated in AICD Foundations of Directorship governance training with one of my Boards. I graduated with my Diploma from AICD almost 10 years ago and have refreshed it since. I was not expecting to get a lot out of this course. How wrong I was.  It was hugely beneficial to get back to the basics of good governance, within the context of the modern corporate landscape.

Culture is not a new concept.

It’s just the outcomes of poor organisational culture have been more exposed in recent times.  I like to refer to culture simply as “the way we do things around here”.  And as a Board, and as Leaders we have responsibility for setting the “tone at the top”. For setting the standard, embedding the values and policies to guide the conduct of the organisation.

Being reminded that “The standard you walk past is the standard you accept” (David John Hurley, AC, DSC).  Dwell on this for a moment.

Living and breathing our values.

Both our personal values and those of the organisations we work within. A reminder that values are so much more than a handful of words on a poster. Our values reflect what matters to us at the deepest level. The culture of the organisation reflects how those values play out, or, conversely are not played out.

As Directors, we take responsibility for leading a healthy culture. As Leaders for embedding that culture. As individuals we all contribute to it, perpetuate it and hopefully enjoy the benefits of it.

But as individuals we can also be misaligned with an organisation’s culture; find ourselves feeling like a “square peg in a round hole”.  My advice to flourishing is to find the right sized and shaped organisation aligning with your own values.

Written By Debbie Millard

Master your business through strong leadership, knowing your numbers and empowering your people

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