I am part of a pilot course offered by the Human Resources department at Trinity Western University, which is turning out to be quite good. The program is aimed at developing senior leaders and improving our effectiveness. At our most recent class, Carson Pue, our newest Special Assistant to the President, discussed decision-making at TWU and in particular how strategy & organizational culture interact.
Pue told us of the time he heard Peter Drucker being interviewed about strategy and planning at a conference where he famously said, “Culture eats strategy for breakfast!”
Why is this so? Pue explained that it is because culture is an organization’s self-sustaining pattern of behaving, feeling, thinking, and believing. Participating in the culture is different from shaping or influencing it. If we are leaders who hope to implement strategies, we cannot ignore or be blind to the culture that can go all “Pac-Man” on our plans!
For further research on this topic, check out Cameron & Quinn, Diagnosing & Changing Organizational Culture. It is on my reading list.