Recently I had the pleasure of serving on a panel discussing the topic “Culture Eats Strategy For Breakfast”. It was an event for business owners put on by 360 Degrees of Inspiration. For information and photos from the event click here.
It turns out I was the only panelist to disagree with this statement and I thought I would share my introductory thoughts:
“I don’t believe culture has any impact on strategy; negative or positive. This comes from experience. Over the years our companies have helped hundreds of businesses execute strategy. There have been many successes and some failures. But we have been unable to attribute culture to either the successes or failures.
So in preparation for this evening I dug deeper and sought out the views of other experts. I spent a couple of hours googling the opinions of others. You know the form; 10 reasons strategy fails; 3 ways to achieve strategy success; and so on. Of all the many papers I reviewed only ONE, that’s ONE, had culture as one of the reasons.”
So what do I think impacts strategy? Here are my Top 10 favourites:
- Implementing strategy means change and change needs change management. Many business owners have no training in change management and so they try and force the change on the team. Forcing anything has the opposite effect; resistance.
- Management has no faith in the strategies they have developed. Studies have shown that when planning sessions are over many involved in the planning do not believe the strategies will be actually implemented.
- The strategies are too ambitious. The leap the company must make from the current to the future situation is too wide for the resources available. Attempts are made but when they constantly fail the team naturally gives up.
- Unforeseen changes happen. This can be internal (a key individual quits) or external (the market for your product changes). The strategies are now worthless but instead of resetting them they are just ignored.
- No one is championing the strategies. There must be a champion to cajole, persuade, motivate and inspire people to successfully execute strategies. It’s called leadership!
- Everyone runs out of steam. We exit the planning process full of vim, vigour and vitality but soon get weighed down by today’s activities and have little room for working on tomorrow’s future.
- No accountability. People are very busy; asking them to work on strategic initiatives adds extra burden. If you don’t hold them accountable they will eventually get the message that the strategy is not important so will stop working on it.
- Many strategies are projects and for projects to be successful they need to be managed. Either the company lacks any project management experience or knowledge and/or everyone just dives ahead without any clear direction.
- Financials are ignored. Implementing strategy costs money. If money is not budgeted and available and/or is inadequate then work on strategies will quickly come to a halt.
- Expected results of the strategy are not clear or measurable. So we don’t know when we have reached the end of the road. We don’t know where the end of the road is! Trying to create an implementation plan when you don’t know the destination is impossible.
The topic for the next event to be held in February is: “The Real Impact of Social Media on Business“. For information about the event and how to register go to: 360degreesofinspiration.com
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