A strategy is only as good as the capability to execute it. A good strategy can be consumed by culture.
Culture is like the wind – invisible, but you can see and feel its effects. When your culture is aligned with your strategy, it feels like a tailwind accelerating your progress; but when they are misaligned, it creates a headwind which slows you down, brings you to a standstill or even pushes you backwards.
A typical example is where a strategy to drive growth through innovation is undermined by a risk-averse culture where people fear getting punished for failing when trying new things.
Culture, simply put, is ‘the way we do things here.’ It’s what is expected, encouraged, discouraged and acceptable. It is so much more than ‘a great place to work.’
A 2021 report from McKinsey & Company shows that companies with strong cultures achieve up to three times higher total returns to shareholders than companies without them.
According to Deloitte, companies that proactively manage culture report higher levels of innovation and 40% higher levels of retention than those that do not.
The impact of not having culture and strategy aligned should not be underestimated. It takes intentional effort to transform culture but having a culture which enables the strategy is not only a powerful source of competitive advantage, it’s fundamental to making strategy happen.