Wednesday, November 15, 2017

3 Ways to Align Culture and Strategy

Corporate culture and strategy are two areas most CEO’s say are really important.  The numbers above point to how important they really are.  If aligning culture and strategy could more than double your profit margins, then why not spend time and money investing in this area? 

So what are a few ways that your company can align culture and strategy?  Below are three ideas that if executed, could put you closer to closing this gap and increasing your profit margin.

1.  Be sure you have a clear purpose other than solely making money.  A noble or transcendent purpose is key.  The purpose should be something that everyone can rally around.  In a medical company it could be “We believe in everyone being healthy and happy.”  For a snack food company, the purpose could be “We believe in making people smile and bringing people together.”  In a lumber company it could be “We believe in putting a roof over everyone’s head.”  The purpose should be known by everyone and constantly communicated and tied back to everything done (especially the culture, structure and strategy)

2.  Be sure you have 3 values and behaviors that represent your culture and that you tie them to your strategy (your sustainable or unique competitive advantage).  The purpose and culture are key as they should be the driving-force of your organization.  The 3 values could be trust/honesty, extreme accountability and ultimate confidence.  For trust and honesty the behaviors could be being able to have open conversations in formal and informal settings where things are added instead of taken away and the word "but" is replaced with the word "and".  For accountability it could be always finishing your sales route if you are in the snack foods business.  For confidence, it could be offering a lifetime guarantee if you are in the wood/flooring business.

3.  Once your purpose and culture are set and everyone understands what they are, the most important part is to live the purpose and culture everyday.  Living the culture, especially for the leaders is key as it demonstrates that you believe in it and that it is important.  By living the culture you can easily tie your actions to the strategy.  If your strategy is to put employees first so they put customers first then you have to make sure your living the culture of caring for your people.  If you say you care and then yell at someone in the hallway then you send a mixed message that will hurt your culture and strategy.
      Aligning culture and strategy may not always be easy.  Making a concerted effort to work on it should be a main goal.


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