There is an interesting quote that is credited to Peter Drucker but not proven it came from him. The quote is “Culture eats strategy for breakfast”
It doesn’t really matter whose quote it is, it does get used frequently in a variety of business environment and publications. What is that quote really saying? If you go to Google and enter organizational strategy you get 95,100,000 possibilities and if you enter organization culture you get 12,900,000, so there are about 8 times more articles or resources in general about strategy than culture. Does that mean strategy is more important and if so why the quote? Perhaps strategy is sexier and sounds sophisticated and cool.
There is a possibility that whoever made the comment that culture eats strategy for breakfast realized that having a strategy, no matter how good, is of little value if it can’t be implemented by normal people. In addition, the culture of an organization is the result of the beliefs and core values of the organization manifesting themselves in the policies, procedures, regulations and structure of the organization and that determines how things get done.
People are no doubt the most important asset of any organization. They are in most or perhaps all organizations the only true differentiator for the organization. They are the competitive advantage. The culture helps define what kind of people are attracted to the organization and how they behave once they get there. All the performance metrics from profit to retention are impacted either positively or negatively by the culture.
The culture of an organization has a big impact on the willingness of the people in the organization to bring their whole selves to the tasks at hand and share their discretionary contribution with the organization. The culture of the organization can make any strategy look good or bad. Perhaps this fact alone is the reason for the quote and the increasingly frequent use of the quote.
Although understanding how to create and maintain a high performing culture may have challenges it is worth the effort