Align Culture with Strategy for Extra Competitive Advantage

Pavel Naydenov

Pavel Naydenov

Head of Marketing

Table of Contents:

After reading a ton of articles, watching lots of leadership presentations, and being a team lead for a while, I actually realized how crucial it is to align company culture and strategy in order to build a successful team.

A company's culture is the set of shared values, beliefs, and practices that guide employee behavior, while strategy outlines the goals and actions taken to achieve success. When these two elements are in sync, companies can achieve better results, foster a more engaged workforce, and build a stronger brand identity.

The fundamentals of culture and strategy alignment involve understanding the company's core values and goals and ensuring that these are reflected in the organization's culture. For example, if a company embraces a culture of innovation, it should encourage risk-taking, experimentation, and creative problem-solving. Similarly, if a company's strategy involves expanding into new markets, its culture should be adaptable, open to change, and focused on growth.

Implementing culture-strategy alignment requires a concerted effort from leadership and buy-in from employees at all levels of the organization. This may involve rethinking the company's hiring practices, developing new training programs, or creating new communication channels to ensure everyone is on the same page. Companies can create a more cohesive, productive, and successful workplace by taking a holistic approach to culture-strategy alignment.

Key Takeaways

  • The process of aligning organizational culture with strategy is crucial for achieving better results and building a stronger brand identity.
  • Understanding a company's core values and goals is essential for implementing culture-strategy alignment.
  • It would be best if you had a synchronized effort from leadership and the other team members at all levels of the organization.

Creating an Environment that Supports Culture and Strategy Alignment 

Building a solid alignment between culture and strategy requires an organization to take a few essential steps. Following these steps will foster a cohesive and purpose-driven work environment that supports achieving overarching goals.

Let's get into them.

Step 1: Defining Organizational Culture 

Defining the organizational culture and ensuring universal familiarity with it are crucial initial steps in aligning culture with strategy. For this to happen, it is vital to identify the values, beliefs, and practices that support the organization's culture. Keep in mind to make them visible and accessible to anyone because otherwise, they remain some great thoughts in your head.

However, things are not that simple. Writing down a bunch of values and practices and printing them on the walls may help a little bit. But what matters in reality is the shared way you do things. Remember, your culture is the behavior of the leaders. The way they communicate, the way they resolve issues, and so on. That gets mirrored all the way down to every single person and has a huge impact on the overall performance.

Now, let's continue with the strategy.

Step.2 Understanding Strategic Objectives

The next step is to clearly define the strategic objectives of the organization. This involves identifying the long-term goals of the organization and the steps that need to be taken to achieve them. It is essential to ensure that the strategic objectives align with the organization's mission, vision, and execution activities. Many organizations tend to implement the OKR goal-setting framework to achieve this connection.

By defining the existing culture and understanding strategic objectives, business leaders can create a plan of action that will guide their workforce toward achieving the organization's goals.

And here comes the tricky part: aligning culture with strategy.

Step.3 Implementing Culture-Strategy Alignment through Three Key Areas

To effectively implement culture-strategy alignment, there are three key areas that need to be addressed: Communication and Leadership, Cultural Change Processes, and Monitoring and Evaluation.

1. Communication and Leadership

Clear and consistent communication is essential for achieving culture-strategy alignment. Leaders must maintain open communication among all employees to ensure the company's vision, values, and goals are well understood.

This involves clarifying how each employee's responsibilities contribute to the company's overall success.

Moreover, leaders should also model the desired behaviors and values to ensure employees understand their expectations. This includes demonstrating a commitment to the company's values and holding themselves and others accountable for upholding them. In other words, leading by example.

2. Cultural Change Processes

Culture change is a complex process that requires a deliberate and systematic approach. Leaders must first understand the current culture and identify the gaps between the present and desired state.

Once the gaps have been identified, leaders must develop a plan to close them. This may involve changes to policies and procedures, training and development programs, and changes to the physical work environment.

Incorporating all team members into the process of cultural change is crucial to fostering a sense of ownership and commitment. This involves seeking feedback and ideas from staff, engaging them in the planning phase, and offering opportunities for active participation in the implementation of the changes.

3. Monitoring and Evaluation

Monitoring and evaluation are critical to ensuring that culture-strategy alignment is achieved and maintained over time. And for this to happen, leaders must observe and act.

This may include regularly soliciting feedback from employees or conducting surveys. Based on the results of these evaluations, leaders may need to adjust their approach to ensure that the desired outcomes are achieved. You don't just allow culture to happen. You have to design it because you have an idea of what you want to do.

In conclusion, implementing culture-strategy alignment requires a deliberate and systematic approach that involves:

  • clear and consistent communication,
  • cultural change management, and
  • monitoring and evaluation.

By addressing these key areas, leaders can create a culture aligned with the company's strategic goals, leading to improved performance and a more engaged workforce.

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Pavel Naydenov

Pavel Naydenov

Head of Marketing

Passionate about online marketing, copywriting, brand management, and social media. Enthusiastic about cooking, guitar playing, and continuous improvement.