Culture & Organization

"Culture eats strategy for breakfast"

This now famous quote comes from the team planning the reinvention of The Ford Motor Company in early 2006, and captures what so many organizations have painfully come to realize.  The plan may be brilliant, focused and well communicated, but that is still no guarantee of success.  It is your organization's instincts, the unwritten rules and expectations embedded within the culture that determine the quality of ideas, implementation and, ultimately, failure or success.

  • Culture is the gatekeeper to organization effectiveness.
  • Culture is the gatekeeper to results.

There is no single ideal culture that supports all business strategies, and successful companies have very different cultures. There are, however, common cultural success factors based on the:

  • Stage of organizational growth and evolution
  • Goals of the organization

For example:

  • Are you a new organization enjoying the chaos that accompanies rapid growth, or are you an established organization with a history of success, independent divisions and strong processes to maintain that success? 
  • Do you want to grow through enhancements to existing products and productivity, or are you in the sweet spot of rapid innovation and change?

We will not try to sell you on what someone else did or on a one size fits all solution from the latest best seller.  Instead, we use our research and deep experience to assess your organization’s culture.  We work with you to develop a realistic action plan that aligns with your strategic imperatives, leverages existing strengths and identifies the hidden resistance points.

Cultural assessment is a necessary step, but only a first step.  We define organization effectiveness as making the most of what you have to work with…maximizing your assets while minimizing liabilities.  We believe that the driver of organization effectiveness is alignment...of Strategy, Culture and Leadership.  In other words, is there consistency between:

  • Plans and Values
  • Words and Actions
  • Plans and Resources
  • Values and Behaviors, especially of leaders
  • Goals and Processes
  • Results, Behaviors and Rewards?

We take a systems view to your organization, and help you the eliminate mixed messages between the culture, goals, plans, structure and processes that dilute focus and inspire frustration.   We introduce structural designs and process tools that accomplish the work of your organization while emphasing the desired values and behaviors.

We also help organizations strengthen the effectiveness of their business processes and efficiency of their resource allocations. We work with your teams to process map the important work necessary for your success. As we facilitate the process teams, critical conversations are held between those who must act as partners rather than competitors. At the conclusion of these sessions, processes are revised for speed and impact; roles, responsibilities and accountabilities are clarified; and communications across silos but between process teammates are revitalized.

Even with all of this other important activity, the behavior of leaders over time is one of the strongest influences on organization culture. Once leadership behavior is established, the culture becomes entrenched.  We coach leadership at all levels in ways that model the desired behaviors and values while increasing employee understanding and engagement.