Does culture eat strategy for breakfast?

The phrase made famous by Peter Drucker, President at Ford, that “culture eats strategy for breakfast” is one that an old boss of mine used to throw around all the time. His big thing was about creating an awesome, fun culture at work and he did just that. The business that he ran was a really fun place and he was a great boss to work for. Myself and my colleagues loved to come into work and we often went the extra mile for the boss and the company. We felt that we were part of the business and it was our family and so we looked after it and gave a little more. Never did we dread coming to work, quite the opposite and our staff churn was very low as everyone wanted to be there.

However, the business never really grew or was as successful as I felt it could be and I think that this is because we didn’t really have a goal and if we did, none of us really knew what it was or what the strategy was to achieve it. If we had a goal and strategy, then with the culture we had developed I think we would have been an unstoppable machine. We had good capability, great clients and all the right ingredients.

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Culture and Strategy are equally important

So whilst I agree with my old boss, that culture is massively important and the one thing that most businesses get wrong, I think he missed a trick by prioritising culture over strategy. For me both are equally important and my business partners agree. When we started our own business two years ago we wanted to create a fun and enjoyable, working environment. We sought to be transparent with our goals, strategy and even our financial achievements.

We wanted trust and mutual respect around the business but we also wanted to grow quickly and be a leader in our chosen markets. So we explained the goals to our staff, we listened to their ideas about how we could achieve the goals and we built a strategy together. We added incentives like bonuses and company holidays if we achieved our goals. We ensured that those who bought into our vision were rewarded and we celebrated our achievements as a team.

This combination of strategy and culture together has helped us surpass our early goals and achieve so much within a very short period and it’s been fun doing it too. I actually look forward to Mondays and fell lucky when I see the hundreds of Facebook posts on a Sunday night talking about how depressing it is to be heading to jobs they hate the following day. For me, I can’t wait to get in, and see my work colleagues who I count as friends, and see what more we can achieve.

I do think that so many businesses underestimate culture but likewise without a strategy you won’t achieve anywhere near as much success.

I am proud to work with colleagues who share our vision and drive. Together we are success”