Whilst providing Executive Coaching to CEOs, VPs and senior managers in global organizations, Natural Talent has asked some of our clients to identify their key business challenges. One of the most common is Strategy and Culture Alignment.
According to Mark Fields, COO Of Ford Motor Company: ‘No matter how far reaching a Leader’s vision or how brilliant the strategy, neither will be realized if not supported by an organization’s culture.’
‘Culture eats Strategy for Breakfast’ is a remark attributed to Peter Drucker and popularized in 2006 by Mark Fields, where it continues to hang in the ‘war room’ at Ford. Mark was very aware that culture had to be the number one priority and that what people at Ford believed and valued would shape their behaviours and the future of the company. He was tasked with replacing a culture which had become characterized by distrust, fear and betrayal, (with the projected layoff of 30,000 employees), with one of creativity, innovation and responsibility; the positive results ‘have gone down in history’.
Another top US CEO recommends continually asking the question: ‘How aligned is your Business with your Strategy?’ And identifying if the following elements are aligned:
- Your People: Who you hire and assess, how you train them and how they add value
- The formal and informal structure of your company: How you group people in teams, their reporting relationships and how people communicate
- Routines: The Standard Operating Procedures of the company such as incentive schemes, planning processes, budgetary routines
- Culture: Work-related values shared by all employees
He also suggests continually asking the following questions:
Are the company values really aligned with the strategy?
Do people really live and breathe the values – if so how? If not, why not?
And finally one key area which is often overlooked: What do your customers and market sector actually require and are your values aligned with them?