What we get completely wrong about Culture…and what to do about it
John is extremely frustrated.
The results are in :
- The business has underperformed against target for the 5th quarter in a row. Revenue & Operating Margin trail the industry by 5% and 10% respectively.
- Engagement scores are at an all time low. Attrition is increasing steeply.
He spends sleepless nights obsessing over, trying to figure out the root cause, but can’t quite put his finger on it.
He came into the CEO role 15 months ago, with much fanfare. His mandate is to transform the stagnating business, accelerate growth and increase profitability.
Based on his wealth of experience in a similar business, he is quick to identify the issues, and the big bets. He sets an inspiring vision, and a clear strategy and drives his leadership team hard to deliver on it.
Days turn into weeks, weeks into months, and nothing happens. The needle is stuck.
John is a very data driven, operationally savvy CEO. He has regular reviews with his team, individually and collectively, and when they present – metrics seem to go in the right direction and it seems like there is progress. But, it doesn’t show up in the business results.
Finally, John agrees to let an expert do diagnostics to understand the issue.
The issue is CULTURE. Peter Drucker famously said “Culture eats strategy for breakfast”. John and his team were living the tragedy of the quote in real time.
They uncover 3 fundamental issues that were not on the CEO’s radar, and were accepted as status quo by the rest of his team.
These building blocks of culture were not aligned to strategy, thereby creating barriers faster than they could be resolved.
While each leadership team member went above and beyond to do their part, they couldn’t solve the larger complex entangled mess.
Thankfully this transformation story was a success, but there are so many more that aren’t.
5 things we get very wrong about culture
Culture is the glue that connects strategy to execution
5 Steps to building a strong culture
In our org diagnostics, culture workshops, consulting and coaching, we use proven tools as well as proprietary methodologies to help you build or transform a thriving culture that enables strategy.
Learn more about our work on Culture & Values here.
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Disclaimer : The case study has been fictionalized and anonymized to avoid reference to real contexts.