Peter Drucker’s, often repeated famous quote: “Culture eats strategy for breakfast” has been recommissioned repeatedly since it’s esteemed utterance. I’m not so sure about it. If culture is chomping down on strategy and stifling it, then strategy become ineffectual, but if you get the balance of the two just right, it is like the perfect bowl of Corn Flakes.
Corn Flakes – they’re good, they’re tasty, and you can eat them plain but they’re dry and boring and it’s really not optimal. When eaten plain they get lodged in between your teeth and they’re literally hard to swallow. Strategy = Corn Flakes – not great on their own, but can be forced to work.
Milk – most people really enjoy a glass of milk every now and then, it’s refreshing and comforting. Milk has a lot of good nutrients, but alone it doesn’t exactly constitute a balanced meal. Culture = Milk. Alone it’s good, but it lacks substance and long term sustenance.
However, Corn Flakes + Milk = Now thats a satisfying breakfast
The recipe for a good breakfast:
- A vision
- A comprehensive strategy
- A healthy dose of culture
Step 1: Define your vision. Be clear and concise. According to BusinessDictionary.com this is what you need:
“An aspirational description of what an organization would like to achieve or accomplish in the mid-term or long-term future. It is intended to serve as a clear guide for choosing current and future courses of action.”
Step 2: Add the desired amount of corn flakes to a bowl.
Create your strategy, this is how you get from your vision to ‘objective achieved’. Strategy is your vision in action, the tangible steps you need to take.
Step 3: Cover the corn flakes in a healthy amount of milk.
Culture is the golden thread and undertone of all the actions taken to execute your strategy. Culture needs to infiltrate every aspect of the strategy and it’s execution.
Step 4: Step back and observe what happens. When added in the right amounts, the milk will touch every last corn flake, and become absorbed into them creating a new and improved combination of the two that is simply delicious, at the same time ensuring that there is just enough milk left over after you’ve eaten to enjoy a refreshing gulp (straight out of the bowl of course).
When your strategy and culture work in harmony, the culture should influence the constitution of the the strategy, and once that particular strategy has been fully executed there should be enough culture left over to remind you what you started with in the first place and why.
Getting breakfast balanced right is important. It is the most important meal of the day. Eat your breakfast.