Peter Drucker, a management guru who has written extensively on knowledge work, is quoted for saying “Culture eats strategy for breakfast”. He wants to emphasize the importance of culture over strategy. If you focus on strategy, but not on your culture, it’s the culture that wins. Drucker says we need more focus on culture.
And it’s true. Culture definitely trumps strategy. Yet even culture is subordinate to the system.
If you want to create a culture of co-operation, but your incentives reward individual performance, it will not happen. If you want a culture of innovation, but you punish for errors, it will not happen. Jari Sarasvuo, a famous Finnish entrepreneur, says he spent more than 80 million euros trying to change culture and failed.
Culture eats strategy for breakfast. Yet system eats culture for lunch. To create a great culture, you need a system that enables and supports that culture.
And what eats the system for dinner? Thinking. Our thinking.