Culture – Much More Important Than Strategy

Culture eats strategy for lunch!

You may have heard this statement, or you may have read articles or heard presentations with a similar theme.  Culture does indeed eat strategy for lunch!

Culture is far more important, particularly over time, than one or more strategies.

Webster defines culture as “the set of shared attitudes, values, goals, and practices that characterizes an institution or organization.” In her recent book, Colleen Barrett, President Emeritus of Southwest Airlines described culture as follows:

“The secret sauce, if you will, of our organization. That culture motivates and sustains us. I don’t dictate the culture; none of our officers do. Rather, it stems from the collective personality of our people. And they are what make us the provider of choice in the airline industry.”   

Good, bad or indifferent, every family has a culture and so does yours. Good, bad or indifferent, every organization has a culture and so do those in which you are engaged. Every local, regional, national and international organization, of any kind, has a culture. Whether we like it or not, every organization and every unit of people develop and maintain a culture. Whether we like it or not, a culture will evolve and significantly impact every organization or unit of people just as sure as the sun will rise in the morning and impact our world. It is unstoppable and inevitable! The only question is what kind of culture will evolve.

Are you purposefully creating and nourishing the kind of culture, within the organizations in which you are engaged, that will take you and that organization or unit of people where you collectively want to go?

Correct, well-executed strategies are very important. However, the most incredible personal, professional and organizational strategies in the world will never come close to reaching their full potential without the proper culture on which to build and sustain.

Excellent, supportive and highly successful cultures do not just happen. They are purposefully created, nurtured and maintained. In the greater scheme of things, culture is far more important than one or more strategies.

So what about you? Are you carefully and purposefully creating and nourishing the appropriate culture at home, at work and in other organizations and units in which you are engaged? Are you purposefully creating a culture that will take you and others where you want to go?

Are you spending all or most of your time creating and executing great strategies? If so, I encourage you to rethink your priorities. Culture is far more important, and will have a far greater impact, than one or more great strategies.

Steven Covey wisely advised that we should “begin with the end in mind.” The overarching, highest impact factor throughout your personal and professional life is and will be culture. Absolutely nothing will have a greater impact on your life. Follow Steven Covey’s wise advice… “Begin with the end in mind.”

Never forget… culture eats strategy for lunch!

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I am a leader, speaker, and author who is passionate about Leadership Excellence and Achieiving Greater Success. I am the author of the books Be An Inspirational Leader(2016) and Presidential Leadership (2013), and deliver keynote presentations on those topics and several others.

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