Corporate Culture Can Make Or Break Change

3 March 2020

There are three powerful main pillars in corporate transformations – Strategy, capabilities and culture. While there are endless examples of companies that are spending a lot of time thinking of, designing and implementing their business strategy, too few are unaware, or even ignoring, their corporate culture.

The Triumvirate

Strategy, capabilities and culture are in essence a series of decisions of what, where and why in relation to value creation, differentiation, capabilities in execution and cultural imperatives. For true corporate transformation to take place these three pillars need to be aligned and permissive of each other. But while changing and revisiting corporate strategy is an inevitability and occurs every few years, capabilities and culture needs to be cultivated and is in of itself not self-evident at first glance.

It’s hard to pin down corporate culture. It’s not only a moving target, but also incredibly subjective from person to person. A company’s culture is also multi-faceted as there are different cultural behaviors and traditions towards outsiders, internally, between departments and within the hierarchical structure. It’s worth to note that changing corporate culture does not necessary requires changes in company values. But rather what capabilities and cultural capabilities are required to enable change and success.

Creating And Cultivating Culture

Creating, cultivating or changing company culture can be done in several ways and requires time. But one of the most straightforward ways is to create a unified value and belief statement. In other words; a common vision of the future and with a shared direction. Additionally, remember that it’s not only the destination, it’s also the journey.

Engage the whole organization in both dialogue about what values and goals are important as well as how and when milestones are reached. Keeping all employees informed is not only good business practice, it also facilitates change, ensures commitment and allows for important feedback.

Finally, how powerful culture may be, cannot overcome poor decision-making when it comes to corporate strategy. The effect culture has on the success on a company is always dependent on the strategy. Furthermore, a toxic culture will wipe out good strategy. So remember that it goes both ways

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