Being a leader means modeling the behaviours consistent with the culture you want to create within your organisation. It also means setting strategy and communicating your vision for your team to execute. Sometimes it can be hard to decide which is more important: culture or strategy. However, in culture driven organisations, the two go hand in hand.
Strategy is akin to the left brain operation of your organisation. It’s the logic and analytics. It’s the schedules, deadlines, systems and measurement that drive the results. Your strategy is the roadmap for executing your vision, but only part of what drives the success of your organisation.
Culture is the right brain operation. Its values and people. It’s the foundation for how your organisation works to follow the roadmap. Your culture is the engine of engagement that drives performance, or it can be like an albatross of mediocre performance that stalls your growth.
In other words, there is no either/or when it comes to culture and strategy. One supports the other: Without a strong culture, strategy breaks down. Without clear strategy, your team may not know where they fit into the overall mission. In organisations with a strong culture and clear strategy, teams know where they are going, how to get there, and work together to achieve the common goal.
Therefore, leaders cannot afford to focus just on strategy or just on culture. They must actively reinforce culture by recognising employees who behave in alignment with organisational values and consistently do great work as a result. Likewise, leaders are responsible for developing a plan that communicates how each person will contribute. In this way, culture and strategy work together in symbiosis.
Granted, sometimes striking the right balance can be a challenge. But it’s hard to go wrong with establishing and maintaining a healthy culture that encourages learning, consistent improvement, innovation and high performance. All are values at the heart of the kind of culture that can drive strategy. When your team is engaged, empowered and trust in each other, you might be surprised at how natural the development and execution of strategy becomes.
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