The vision, the mission, the strategy – this is the typical flow down how companies align their business to the market and their customers. If companies take this flow down serious the well-defined vision and mission will impress the culture of the company.
On the other hand, you need a detailed strategy planning that guarantees that every part of your company and every employee moves towards the right direction. This strategy might be very complex and will result in many projects that are partially not directly related to the development of new products and services. There might be projects to improve the infrastructure of the company, projects to train and develop employees, and many more.
Acceptance and engagement to follow the (new) strategy will rely on the underlying culture of the organization. If there is no appropriate culture, strategy will fail and the mission and vision will remain hollow phrases.
1. Strategy not aligned to Vision and Mission
If your strategy expresses something different than your vision and mission statement does, you might have a serious problem. As Brad Power explained in his blog post on HBR: “There must be a clear connection between the target culture and the overarching strategy of the company. With a clear understanding of the target culture and behaviors, leaders can then consciously and more effectively influence employees with their behavior and by how they “ARM” (Allow, Reward, and Model) the targeted behaviors of associates.”
2. No Continuous Improvement Process established
Adapting strategy to the mission and vision or implementing even a new strategy requires the willingness to change and improve processes. Without having a culture for Continuous Improvement implemented your adaption of the new strategy will only be by chance. Therefore a living and by management supported Continuous Improvement Process is a key cultural benefit for your organization.
3. Functional Silos
Functional Silos will always be a show stopper for strategy when they act like a firm rock. Typically, Functional Silos follow their own (micro-) strategy and will resist against change where ever they can. It might be necessary to break up these silos when implementing a new strategy. A process orientated corporate culture should not allow to build up Functional Silos.
4. Employee recognition not aligned to Strategy
If employee recognition is not aligned to the mid- and long-term goals of the overall strategy, employees might be guided in the wrong direction. For example, if Continuous Improvement was realized as a cultural benefit, brilliant firefighting should not be recognized as a main achievement. The importance of employee recognition is described here.
5. No blame free work environment
Having a mid- or long-term strategy in place is always related to some uncertainties regarding exact prediction of the future results. Employees should always have the possibility to try out new solution (in a controlled way) without having fear for being blamed for suboptimal results in the first step.