One of the biggest debates that entrepreneurs, business owners, managers & CEOs have to face nowadays is that of choosing Strategy over Culture or vice versa. Although both these terms are well known among executives for many decades, this dilemma has occurred recently since the rise of start-ups in the business world and has come to disturb even the most talented and successful people in the field. The business environment is changing, its reforming, its reshaping and part of that transformation has to do with the establishment of Culture in the business game. People start to understand that what adds value to a company and what makes a company more likeable and interesting is many more things than what it used to be a few decades ago. After all that is one of the main reasons why many start-ups are gaining bigger and bigger market shares day by day from great and experienced traditional companies. So let’s get in this debate and try to point out the important points in each one of these two terms.
What is Strategy?
Strategy is the formal logic of a company’s goals and aspirations that orients and organises people around it. It is logic engraved on rock and actions imprinted on paper. In simple words strategy consists of the planning that companies go through when they want to define what they want to do, where they want to do and how they are going to do it. For many years strategy has been the most important procedure for executives because it helps organisations clarify and focus when it comes to decision making what they should actually do.
What is Culture?
Culture is what glues an organisation together. Entrepreneurs, Managers & CEO’s treat this as it a soft matter but in practice Culture is one of the most important assets a company has. When we talk about culture we talk about all those “invisible” things that define a company and determine how things get done. Culture includes the purpose of a company, the values of a company, the way the company communicates with its customers and the way manages its own people among with a handful of other things. In simple words culture is the soul of a company, it is what makes it move and operate and it shows the way when crucial matters have to be resolved.
Comparing Strategy & Culture
Strategy expresses goals through logic and shows the actions that should be strictly made in order to achieve something, but Culture expresses goals through values and beliefs leaving more space for people to act in their own way making them feel more free and confident but always under a certain behaviour pattern that has been defined.
Strategy focuses on driving the numbers and that is what most executives are after, but Culture drives innovation and execution and in the long term that’s what really matters when you want to achieve something and eventually make an impact.
Strategy is a list of actions that you can create and it can help you measure success or failure but on the other hand Culture is something you can not imprint and follow step by step but the turnover it can produce could be enormous and on many levels not just financial.
Strategy is quite easier to be developed by big companies with access to many resources but Culture is what differentiates the small companies that already have some value and it could be what will take them of the roof when the right time comes.
End the Debate
Peter Drucker on of the most famous business consultants and one of the most influential personas in the world of business once said that “Culture Eats Strategy for Breakfast“. Many interpret that phrase as that companies should stop thinking about strategy and focus just on culture. The question is why should we choose? Why should we get in this debate and pick a side? Why not develop both? Both Strategy & Culture are essential for the operations of a company, each one of them for its own different reasons. So why not take advantage of both and create something astonishing.