Monday, April 30, 2012

Team Culture Eats Strategy for Breakfast!

Why is it that many leaders, mangers, or coaches while they are in the midst of leading a change initiative, suddenly discover that despite what people said they would do, it isn’t happening? Finding the root cause for this puzzling behavior is not simple but the culprit is most probably the organization’s culture. As Peter Drucker, the famous influential writer, management consultant, and self-described “social ecologist once said: “Culture eats strategy for breakfast.”

Culture is the collection of the values, norms, work processes and practices established over time and shared by all members within a group or organization. Organizational culture heavily influences the outcome of all initiatives and is governed by how everyone interacts with each other. Figure 1 below illustrates how at the very core of the high performance framework, culture can be influenced by members not executing as planned because they are either not willing, not able or not knowing what or how to do what is expected from them. Also causing ineffective execution is missing knowledge, relations, processes, systems and benefits that are needed to enable change. In fact, some of these factors can even lead to sabotage by disgruntled or rebellious team members who feel threatened by the changes brought about by new initiatives.

Figure 1: GPX high performance framework to overcome cultural barriers

Culture trumps strategy when leadership simply introduces new initiatives or new talent, as in the case of Post-Merger Integration (PMI) initiatives to improve competitive positioning, without a well thought out solution to enable the team to overcome some of the stated barriers to high performance team effectiveness.

How will your culture either work to support or kill your initiative? If you realize that there are cultural elements that will work against what you are planning, you need to engage others in figuring out what you can do to start to reinforce new behaviors. If there are no processes and systems to reinforce or reward new behaviors, the “old” ones will be the fallback. Leadership should enforce, manage, direct, train, communicate, enable or even replace personnel to ensure that culture does not eat strategy for breakfast.

If your team is struggling to turn itself around and execute your game plan as expected contact to learn how the GPX high performance framework can enable your team to overcome cultural barriers to meet desired goals set by leadership.

We will not only bring together a panel of world renowned multidisciplinary experts to analyze and understand the character and culture of your team, but also introduce proven best practices and configure GamePlanX to deliver your vision, training, communication and knowledge management as illustrated in figure 1, so your team can successfully execute your game plan.

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