Is your business culture holding you back?

“Culture eats strategy for breakfast”, someone once said.

Based on extensive research, Groysberg, Lee, Price and Cheng reported in the Harvard Business Review that:

  1. When assigned to strategy and leadership, a strong culture drives positive outcomes
  2. Selecting or developing leaders for the future requires understanding of the future strategic and culture needs of the business
  3. In a dynamic, uncertain environment, in which organisations must be more agile, learning about culture gains importance
  4. A strong culture can be a significant liability when it is misaligned with strategy.

Their findings are not surprising and are consistent with many other studies. 

What is more surprising is how little leaders understand about their culture, the values and behaviours that are understood by employees and the inconsistencies within the organisation. Culture can be complex and need to allow for different perspectives in different teams, especially in larger and complex organisations but still under the umbrella of a company culture. In scaling businesses it is quite normal for the business culture to evolve and common reasons include:

  1. More staff and a recent influx of new joiners or different skills;
  2. New managers with different experiences and perspectives;
  3. Less identification and contact with the initial founding team or group;
  4. Less understood coherent purpose and focus; and 
  5. Different strategic focus which is not well understood.

The above can make progress harder and ultimately lead to disengagement and frustration. It’s a phase that many leaders will recognise.

Our experience of working in and with fast growing businesses is not that any one culture works better than another but that if can be timely and highly productive to :

  • Compare your culture compared to well-researched benchmarks with insightful interpretation;
  • Assess whether that culture is relevant to your mission, strategy and priorities; and
  • Take effective steps to develop your culture and compare the results.   

Drawing on our experience of working with scores of CEOs and business leaders, either as part of their leadership team or as clients, we provide a collegiate and objective analysis to provide practical solutions, typically acting as a catalyst for teams to help themselves to create a vibrant culture.  

We work with scale up businesses to established businesses to help them accelerate business outcomes, drawing on our experience of working in and with high growth businesses. Our integrated approach combines operational expertise covering leadership, strategy, people, finance, legal and IT. 

If you would like a confidential conversation to understand how we might help you, you can contact us on for one of our specialists to get back to you.

Leave a Reply

%d bloggers like this: