The Daily Idea

A smart healthcare marketing blog
January 2014

Culture Trumps Strategy

For a company to succeed, strategy is important, but a great culture is paramount.It’s the one distinguishing feature that a competitor can’t duplicate.

As Peter Drucker put it, “culture eats strategy over breakfast”.

Lets take a look at Southwest Airlines, the company which saw the greatest value expansion in the S&P 500 between 1971 and 2001.  Herb Kelleher — its CEO for 35 years — once said: “Given enough time and money, your competitors can duplicate almost everything you’ve got working for you. They can hire away some of your best people. They can reverse-engineer your processes. The only thing they can’t duplicate is your culture… Do you know the difference between strategy and culture? Well, when Napoleon was in Paris in a room with all his generals around a table, discussing how to attack Russia, that’s strategy. But what makes a million men march to Moscow, that is culture!”

So how do you plant the seeds of a great culture?

  • First, leaders must surround themselves with the best and the brightest — people with extensive experience and high emotional intelligence.
  • Second, leaders must be compassionate. People are the most engaged, the most passionate, and the most productive when they’re listened to, and when they’re encouraged to grow and learn new skills.
The Daily Idea from Harvard Business Review

The Daily Idea from Harvard Business Review

Original Source :: Creating a Culture of Unconditional Love by Claudio Fernández-Aráoz. Fernández-Aráoz is a senior adviser at global executive search firm Egon Zehnder and a former member of its global executive committee. He is the author of Great People Decisions (Wiley, 2007) and the forthcoming It’s Not the How or the What but the Who:  Succeed by Surrounding Yourself with the Best (Harvard Business Review Press, 2014).

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