Culture eats Strategy for Breakfast

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The saying “Culture eats strategy for breakfast” by no means alludes to strategy being unimportant but rather that a strong and empowering organisational culture is a sure way to achieve success.

Cultures that are flexible and innovative and where individuals take responsibility for results, as opposed to the regular bureaucratic structures, have been found to improve organisational success.

Numerous studies depict that there is a direct correlation between a healthy, productive culture and a company’s bottom line yet most companies spend little time thinking or doing anything about this topic even when they’re spending lots of time thinking about their business strategy.

In order for an organisation to optimally transform, Strategy, capabilities and culture need to be aligned. Strategy, capabilities and culture is about a series of related choices about “where we going to play”, “how are we going to win and differentiate”, “what capabilities need to be in place to execute”, “what are the cultural imperatives to enable differentiation and execution”?

No matter what business strategy you try to implement with your people, its success is going to be held back by the people implementing the plan if the culture does not support it.

It means that if the people driving the strategy aren’t passionate about the change, then you stand no chance implementing a plan.

Maintaining cultural coherence across a company should be a pivotal factor when determining a corporate strategy. No culture, however strong, can overcome poor choices when it comes to corporate strategy. The impact of culture on a company’s success is only as good as its strategy is sound.

Below is just a few ways to foster a culture of strategic growth:

  • Check your current reality:

  • Talk to your people to get a sense of what they would change about their organisation and what they would like to see in the future. Get them to start thinking about their ideal future, and how it might fit within your organisation.

  • Encourage conversations

  • Your people want to contribute to the success of their work place. Create a safe space for them to discuss what’s going on and what needs to be addressed to make their work lives better and more fulfilling. They will appreciate the fact that their leadership is people focused, and they in turn will be more engaged with their work.

  • Develop a vision

  • People need to know where they are going and how they are going to contribute to that success. If there’s no vision and no sense of direction, then you have no chance of getting aligned on a culture. The vision holds it all together.

  • Celebrate short term wins

  • Now that you know where you’re going, make visible successes towards that path. Once people see that the change towards creating a culture is happening then it will start to become a reality and they are more likely to get behind it.

Developing culture is more than just having a set of values and a vision. You need to live your culture and set the example. It needs to be part of everything you do, and it should act as a set of rules to help guide and empower your people with decision making. It is also crucial that you need to reward the activities that you want your people to embody.

In conclusion, you will need to align your culture, your people and your plan to make transformational change within your organisation.

Don’t let culture eat strategy for breakfast. Have them feed each other in order to become a high performing organisation with high performing individuals.

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