In the UFC Main Event: Culture vs. Strategy, Who is going to be the winner?
Let’s meet the contenders:
“There’s no magic formula for great company culture. The key is just to treat your staff how you would like to be treated.” – Sir Richard Branson
A strong culture in an organization may account for 35% or more in results vs. a similar business without a positive culture. Much more of a difference if the similar company has a negative culture. A consistent thread from exit interviews when there is higher than usual turnover in a business is the comment about the poor culture or poor work environment.
What brings a culture together? Two items which form the foundation of a culture are defining the Vision and the Values. The Vision or Mission Statement provide the purpose of the business. This is the guiding light for everyone working for the company.
The central core of the culture is based upon the Values. Similar to Mission and Vision, the Values are stated and written out and widely posted, distributed and verbally stated. More than anything the Values must be lived by the leadership team of the business.
In essence “practice what you preach” if you will. These four items – at the most basic level will form the culture in an organization – Vision, Mission, Values, Practice. Walk into any organization where the culture has a high energy level and you are able to feel it.
Culture is about people and how they interact with each other and together when they are brought together for a purpose with a Clear Vision and Mission.
“You may not be interested in strategy, but strategy is interested in you.” – Leon Trotsky
“In a period of economic downturn, the overwhelming instinct is to pare back, cut costs, and lay off. If you do that, do so with your strategy in mind. The worst mistake is to cut across the board. Instead, reconnect and recommit to a clear strategy that will distinguish yourself from others.” – Michael Porter
In essence a business strategy will define the tactics and methods to be utilized to manage the business. Often another area is included which describes the competition and where your business stands vs. the competition in specific areas and how this will be changed.
Typically the strategy for the business is set up by the Board of Directors and the Leadership Team of the business. A revisit more than once a year to this strategy is highly encouraged.
Strategy is about creating goals and the plans to achieve these goals.
In closing a few comments to consider:
“Whatever the relationship between people, mutual trust is basic in its dynamic growth.”
“Work gives people an opportunity to share something of themselves with other people.”
– Paul J. Meyer
“Leadership is a potent combination of strategy and character. But if you must be without one, be without the strategy.”
– General Norman Schwarzkopf
“The best CEO’s I know are teachers, and at the core of what they teach is strategy.”
– Michael Porter
“Obstacles, of course, are developmentally necessary: they teach kids strategy, patience, critical thinking, resilience and resourcefulness.” – Naomi Wolf
“Trying to do what your competitors are doing but basically a little bit better is probably not going to be the winning strategy. The problem is finding what your competitors wouldn’t even consider doing.” – Jamais Cascio
Where do you stand? If you must choose one winner is it Culture or Strategy?
Mitch Tublin is a business consultant, certified coach and professional speaker based in Stamford, CT.