Monday, June 2, 2008

Link Between Strategy, Culture, Change and Leadership

15 years ago I was reading books about organizational culture by Edgar H. Schein. At that time I was a studying Leadership and Management at the university and did not yet understand

The power of organizational culture.

Now I am starting to understand it. Culture is more powerful than Strategy. As Schein says in The Corporate Culture Survival Guide

The organization clings to whatever made it a success. The very culture that created the success makes it difficult for members of the organization to perceive changes in the environment that require new responses. Culture becomes a constraint on strategy.

Culture is always more powerful than Strategy. If you want to change one, you need to change both. Outlining new strategy on paper is management, but implementing it requires a lot of change leadership to influence the culture related to existing strategy. Often a new organizational structure is helpful, if not required, to implement a new strategy.

I found some related videos from Stanford site. It’s a great resource as videos are cut to 3-5 minute searchable topics, with individual descriptions.

Silicon Valley Bank CEO Ken Wilcox:
Culture Trumps Strategy
Building great corporate culture is more than just metaphors; it's what motivates a winning team.

Click twice to see on Stanford site

Debra Dunn, former vice president of strategy and corporate operations at Hewlett Packard
Randy Komisar, partner at venture capital company Kleiner Perkins Caufield and Byers:
Leadership and Change Management
Both speakers believe that leadership skills and the ability to handle change comfortably are the key characteristics that have been useful in their respective careers.

Click twice to see on Stanford site

Has your organization had a new strategy or structure implemented lately?


Have these had an effect on the corporate culture?

Was this all planned by clever leaders?

How confortable you are with change?

How confortable the rest of the organization is with change?

What is your role as a leader to influence the underlying culture?


Q-chan said...

Organizational change and the human leadership required to make it a reality, need to be modeled by the the "leaders" in an organization. If supporting staff do not see the behavior that is desired/talked about or see "negative" behavior that is not disciplined then the change will not be fully effective.

Samuli said...

See my newer post, How should business leaders learn from GM's latest turning point?
for Harvard Business School professor's opinion on how several generations of GM executives failed to understand how a company's structure and culture relate to its strategy.