This is the question that is causing much debate in the corporate world today. In my experience over the last 34 years in the corporate world and the previous two in my own business, I have to say that culture does top strategy every time. I would even go as far as saying that,
culture determines how successful the business is at delivering on its strategy.
My insights are from my stint at a large corporate, my involvement with a medium sized corporation, and two fledgling startups with very diverse views of how to run a business. In all these businesses, the strategy is very well defined, and the cultures are vastly different.
One of the reasons that the digital revolution is having such a tremendous impact on businesses that have been around for centuries is not that these organisations are unable to perceive the treat and or that they are unable to make decisions fast enough, but rather that their
organisational culture is such that it prevents the organisation from responding appropriately.
Culture is a product of leadership, and as such is a direct reflection of the leadership and leadership style of the organisation. The implication of this is that most businesses will not be able to transition into the digital age without huge cost, or worse, destruction.
The digital age demands a culture of trust, honesty, openness and collaboration, which is the foundation for innovation
It is a culture that values contribution irrespective of position — a culture which prizes the value of people.
Without these, decisions take longer than they should as they pass up the hierarchy for approval. Initiatives are duplicated across the organisation as there is a lack of trust that the solution can be delivered and “leaders” compete to be the “one”.
And all the while cost-cutting initiatives are rife depriving the bread and butter ``legacy systems``, to fund new and desperate attempts to avert the wave of innovation and disruption against the organisation, often with disastrous results.
Unfortunately, this is a scenario that plays itself out more often than not, even though the solution is quite obvious.
by Mo Hassem