Culture Trumps Strategy #BCSLearns

Whether outlined in a book, an article, a slide presentation or oft-quoted, it is clear that “culture eats strategy for lunch” or as Peter Drucker first coined, “Culture Eats Strategy for Breakfast.” In essence, the phrase simply means, no matter how much we focus on key, research-based strategies, it is the culture of an organization, business, school, that promotes its success.  So, how do we understand culture?  I share below, with my take on each, the “forces” that shape culture from Harvard’s Project Zero.  The project “is an intellectual wellspring, nourishing inquiry into the complexity of human potentials – intelligence, understanding, thinking, creativity, cross-disciplinary and cross-cultural thinking, ethics – and exploring sustainable ways to support them across multiple and diverse contexts.”  Out of their work, research and learning, most notably the principle investigator Ron Ritchhart, come their 8 Forces that Shape Group Culture.  I list them below and note a few of my own connections to my learning and our learning over the years as educators within our BCS culture:

Check out this brief video below tauting the importance of companies shifting from a Chief Strategist to a Chief Culture Officer.  Zappos and Google are the only two companies known to have a Chief Culture Office and they are two “wildly successful” companies. In fact, I shared about the Zappos culture, headed by Tony Hsieh, in a past post Happiness Matters (just as a reminder) and his company’s efforts to build a culture of inspiration.  How about school districts having a Chief Culture Office? Interesting…

Here is another video (5 min 39 sec) focusing on Drucker’s quote and giving examples of this concept at work: culture eats strategy for breakfast.  Culture is not something you tell people to do, it’s what people actually do!  Interesting, huh?

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