Blue Beyond Consulting

Culture Strategy: How to Align Strategic Priorities with Cultural Strengths

The space between “this is who we are” and “this is what we do” has probably never been thinner. Culture has shifted from context to content, and leaders are challenged to align strategic priorities with cultural strengths.

Culture characteristics and company performance have for years been winding around each other in an increasingly tighter and tighter spiral. Marketers and creatives have long understood that a thriving culture is a rich source for compelling stories. And recruiters play the culture card to land prized prospects.

We get it. A high performing culture is an asset. But is it being optimally leveraged to inform key strategic decisions? That’s a new question for many leaders. And answering it may require a new vocabulary.

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How Aligned Are You Now?

A 2015 Korn Ferry executive survey revealed that nearly three quarters of the executives surveyed said culture was extremely important to company performance. And yet in the same survey, only 32% reported that their organization’s culture is fully aligned to their business strategy.

In other words, in nearly 70% of the companies surveyed, there was a disconnect between culture and strategy. How does that happen?

Nearly 70% of the companies surveyed said there was a disconnect between culture and strategy.

It happens when company leaders look at the culture as something distinct from their own behaviors. If leaders aren’t deeply engaged in cultural conversations, an us/them dynamic can take hold. Or if a meaningful conversation ends in handshakes and hugs, but processes don’t change or support never arrives.

But let’s say you have a well-understood, high- performing culture that aligns to your brand and your business goals. Good for you, but that doesn’t mean you’ve tapped into the true strategic power source contained within it.