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Aligning Strategy with Culture

Many companies struggle to align their organization's culture with its business strategy. Why is this alignment so important?  Simply because culture is how things are done within your organization, that can either enable or disable you from achieving your strategy. At Validity we know how to make your organization culture enforce your strategy execution.
 
         
Aligning Strategy with Culture

One Strategy: Aligning Planning and Execution

 

Shape Strategy With Simple Rules, Not Complex Frameworks

 

Execution as Strategy

Explicit" strategy is the one you read about in your company's planning memos and PowerPoint slides. The second, "implicit" strategy is what emerges when middle managers and line employees attempt to execute the explicit strategy.

 

 

Successful companies shape their high-level strategies by relying not on complicated frameworks but on simple rules of thumb. 

 
 
 

Area of Expertise: 

The biggest challenge for most organizations is not working out what their strategy should be, but working out how to bring it to life and make it happen. An alignment of strategy and culture has proven results, our research finds that organizations that are well aligned  shows consistently better results, with an average five-year return on investment that is twice as high and gross profit margins that are 27 per cent higher . 

Indeed, getting the right mix of strategy and culture creates a formula for business success. Pursuing a strategy of innovation in a dynamic market can only succeed within an inquisitive culture where the workforce pushes boundaries and management encourages new ideas and constructive risk-taking. Similarly, pursuing a strategy of high-volume, low-cost processes can only succeed within a disciplined culture where the workforce operates in an efficient, repeatable production environment with a mindset for continual cost improvement.
Keeping culture aligned with strategy is a significant challenge given the constantly changing dynamics of markets and the need to adjust and re-direct strategy as a result. Cultures cannot change immediately. Culture change, especially across large and complex organizations, is often a slow and gradual process.
A misaligned culture is inevitable with any significant shift in strategic intent and direction. Understanding the resulting lag and actively working to reduce the time before culture and strategy are realigned is important to succeed. The speed with which this lag is closed improves with an intimate understanding of what drives culture.
 
In an ideal world, an organization’s culture would always be neatly aligned with its strategic objectives. But in reality, top leadership doesn’t always achieve clear or consistent agreement on strategic priorities or the cultural traits needed to support them. That’s where Validity consultants come in. We help you understand the results of the findings, the broader workforce implications and where interventions might be needed. We engage your leaders in a candid discussion about strategic priorities and how the culture might need to change — and identify areas in which it should stay the same — and we can work with you to implement recommended solutions.
 

Our Approach: 

We help leaders understand their organization’s current culture and map a future culture that aligns with their strategic priorities. Based on our extensive research with high performing organizations — in particular, the cultural elements that those organizations employ to achieve strong financial results given a specific strategy — the process we provide is a proven framework for closing the gap between current and desired cultures. Using our process we help your organization answer these questions:
  • Do leaders have a common understanding of the existing culture and the future culture they want to achieve?
  • How well do current and future cultures support achievement of the organization’s strategic goals?
  • Do leaders agree among themselves on the organization’s actual (or prospective) sources of competitive advantage?
  • What changes are required to reshape the culture for enhanced performance in the future?
  • Are executives, managers and the HR function equipped to develop and execute new strategies and new aspects of culture to support the change process?
Live the Strategy. 
To align culture with strategic priorities, an organization’s senior leadership must first agree on what those priorities are. Validity has conducted extensive research on the cultural attributes of high-performance companies and categorized them based on their dominant business strategy. Our research shows that high-performance companies
Tend to focus on one or two primary strategic priorities, and they align their culture to support them. In a broad sense, those priorities are:
  • A relentless focus on the customer
  • A pronounced emphasis on organizational efficiency
  • A compelling image or brand
  • A superior level of product quality
  • A consistently exceptional level of innovation