What Kind Of Culture Are You Creating?

Last week I was speaking at an event and a top executive for Starbucks shared a great quote from his CEO – Howard Schultz. Schultz told their team recently that, “Culture eats strategy for lunch.”

“Culture Eats Strategy For Lunch”

One of the key functions of a leader is to create the strategy to execute the plan. But even more important is creating a culture within your organization. The culture that you create will impact your success or lack thereof in every area.

The culture of an organization is made up of many elements. For this post, let’s look at culture through the lens of teamwork. As you look at your organization today, would you say you have a culture of Competition? Cooperation? or Collaboration?

When your people are too competitive it stifles synergy, creates isolation and alliances as well as breeds mistrust. There is a positive side to competition but if it is the foundational element of your culture, the organization will not come together as a team.

Cooperation is a step toward teamwork but it is passive and hollow. People cooperate because they have to, not because they choose to.

Collaboration is willingly working together toward a common objective. When the team sees the big picture and is willing to put aside ego and self-interest to collaborate for the common good – you have a culture and team that can create incredible results.

As a leader, the culture of our organization starts with you. There are three specific areas that I would suggest you evaluate and possibly adjust to create the culture you desire.

1. Your Example: As a leader it starts with your attitude and actions.
2. Your Communication: Your communication as a leader should be clear, encouraging and reinforce the group vision, priorities and purpose.
3. What you incentivize: Do your incentives encourage competition or collaboration? – You get what you ask for.

I agree with Howard Schultz – “Culture Eats Strategy for Lunch” and culture is created through leadership.


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