Organizational Culture and Execution

Organizational culture is considered to be one of the most important enablers of a company’s success.  A vibrant culture facilitates creativity, innovation, commitment and engagement, all of which creates the “magic” formula for sustainability and growth.  Peter Drucker once said “Culture eats strategy for breakfast”.   The greatest strategy can fail on execution if the culture doesn’t support it.

Many organizations actively cultivate their culture, paying close attention to how they define and live “their brand”.  Even those that aren’t as active in fostering their culture typically have a set of organizational values that are intended to help define the culture. For many, there is a disconnect between the stated culture and experience of the culture.  An organization’s culture is determined by a number of factors, but ultimately it’s about things get done.

An organization may have a stated vision, mission and values at are intended to create a certain desired culture they believe is important to achieve their vision.  There may be a clear strategy and goals that are aligned to that strategy.    But on a daily basis, the actions leaders take to execute on strategy will determine the prevailing culture.  Certainly the type of business, size of the organization and industry the organization is in can have an effect on culture but the single biggest determination is the decision making and execution style of the leader and the leadership team.

If a leader’s approach to executing is very process driven, then the organizational culture will have more systems and processes that will, for the most part, dictate how decisions get made and how things get done.  If a leader has an entrepreneurial approach and is risk taking and idea focused, then the prevailing culture will reflect this.

Organizations have seen their culture shift 180° within a couple of years with a change in leadership, regardless of how entrenched certain norms and legacy practices were.  Think about what you are trying to achieve as a leader, for yourself and your organization.  How is your leadership and decision making style affecting the culture of your organization and your goals for sustainability and growth?

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