How Culture trumps Strategy

Whenever I walk into a business, as a client or a coach, I pay attention to the emotional vibe I pick up from the employees. The vibe I pick up is my subjective assessment of the culture of the business.

When I pick up a vibrant, friendly or warm vibe, I come to the conclusion that there is a healthy culture. When I experience cold, distant encounter, I know something is not right with the culture. Pay attention the next time you walk into a shop or business. Look past the trained customer service friendliness, and see if you pick up the subtle vibe. Do employee laugh with each other or are they ships passing each other in the night? Do they stand in for each other or leave you waiting while the person helping you is away?

I have often found that often management does a lot of strategic planning, that goes nowhere. Merely because they do not consider the culture of the business. If the people do not follow where you lead, your plan fails.

Culture is the underlying of emotional wellbeing in any company.

Imagine your business as a garden.


The design is your strategic plan. The plants are your employees. The fruit and flowers are the products or services your clients enjoy. Culture is the soil in which your plants grow.

Without good soil, your garden is going nowhere.

Another way to think about culture is to notice “the way we do things around here.” It is the unwritten rules in any company, and it evolves automatically if it is not created deliberately.

How do we create a healthy culture? By consciously choosing the purpose and values of your organization. Business owners should pay as much attention to deliberately creating a culture than as they pay attention to strategy or financial report. It is paying attention to the whole business that it will prosper.

If you are interested in cultivating a culture in which employees can flourish, please contact me.