Peter Drucker has famously said, “Culture eats strategy for breakfast.” However, my team taught me an interesting and quite critical nuance to this.
There is no doubt in my mind that if you fail to focus on the culture in your business, you are failing your business in a much larger sense. And if you do not set the standard within your business, you let that culture be driven by others without your input.
As I say to many of my clients – culture is what you tolerate.
But there’s another piece I need to add to that statement…
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However, what is even more important is that there needs to be a level of visibility in the standards you set and how they apply to everyone in the team. If one of your staff members is under-performing or is not being responsible for the activities they are accountable for, then you should not tolerate that. And you need to be very clear about how you are not tolerating that.
When you create a culture that has the right frequency of meetings, where open conflict is useful and welcomed, and where everyone is on the same page, then what you have is an aligned and focused team.
And then you will find your team is working in tandem, and they are perfectly streamlined to glide into the next chapter of your business.
Prefer to read rather than watch and listen? No problem – here’s everything I said in the video as text:
Hi, this is Shweta. Peter Drucker, one of the most renowned management consultants in the world, is my all-time favourite and he once said that “culture eats strategy for breakfast any day.”
Your Business is Only As Good As The Culture
Now there are a few things that when you read them, you understand how meaningful they are. However, when you encounter them in real life, they become even more impactful and meaningful. I get to see this in my clients’ businesses very often and I tell them that culture is what you tolerate and your strategy, your tactics, and your intentions, they are as good as the culture in the business. At the end of the day, it is your team, along with you, who actually takes things forward and make things happen.
However, there was a nuance, a distinction, that was made for myself, by my team, and let me share this with you.
What My Team Brought To My Attention
So yes, I totally understand that culture is what you tolerate. But then my team very recently actually taught me something very interesting. They came up to me and they talked about some other team members.
They said, “You really care about the talent that we have seen, and each one of us, and we can see that there is this one person who is absolutely exemplary and can actually do even better but recently has been not doing the best possible and we just wanted to make sure that you’re aware of that.”
I just smiled at that point and, first of all, I thanked them profusely. “I truly appreciate this culture in you and in the team and thank you for bringing it up.” I also gave them then some evidence and some more in-depth insight as to what I was doing to deal with that because this team member is absolutely precious to everyone in the team here.
Show Them What You Are (and Are Not) Tolerating
So I showed them these few interactions and conversations that I was having and then I asked them, “What do you think I should be doing more here?”
And they just felt relieved and they said, “Actually nothing. What you are doing is right. We just want to know that you are aware of it and that you’re not putting up with that kind of performance.” That’s where the distinction was there for me personally. Because at that moment I realized that culture is not what you tolerate. Culture is what seems to be getting tolerated.
The Two Important Takeaways About Culture
What’s important for you to understand here is that, first of all, don’t tolerate what you are not happy with, and what is not conducive to the culture of your business. Whether you like it or not the culture is very powerful. It does eat strategy and performance for breakfast every day.
The second thing is, if you’re dealing with some issue with a person on a one-to-one basis, make sure that the wider team is aware of it. Not about the person or about the issue, but about the general principles that you want to have in the business and how you expect the entire team to perform.
Make sure the messages are conveyed loud and clear, so the team is aware that you are not putting up with something which should not be tolerated. Show them your eyes, your ears, and your heart is absolutely aligned with the right culture in your business.
If you would like to discuss any of the points covered here, please feel free to request a free call below.