Let’s Grove!
Published: Feb 6, 2018

Culture eats strategy for breakfast.

It’s a common phrase attributed to Peter Drucker, a well-known businessman and consultant to organizations like General Motors, Sears, General Electric and IBM, among others. In this statement, he’s saying a business should put more weight on its culture rather than its overall strategy. At a high level, this concept may hold some weight. But as organizations continue to grow and change direction, it’s important to equally consider both culture and strategy.

But why is this important to marketers?

The New Standard for Attracting Top Talent

Multiple studies have shown that job seekers are drawn to organizations with cultures that reflect their own personal ideals. They want to produce good work with a purpose, while also feeling good about the culture they work in every day. Core values are fast becoming the standard for how the experience of working at a company will be measured.

For example, Zappos is known for having superior customer service. The company’s number one core value is “Deliver WOW Through Service.” Individuals who apply for positions at Zappos are aware of this reputation and are therefore service-oriented individuals that truly believe the company is committed to this core value. This value is shown through supporting their overall personal and professional goals. Today, getting a job at the Zappos call center is more competitive than gaining admission to Harvard!

Culture is a C-Suite Business Idea

There is evidence showing cultures driven by value produce excellent financial and performance returns.

A Dallas-based company I’ve always admired is Southwest Airlines. Their core values explain how to “live the Southwest way,” including a warrior spirit, servant’s heart and fun-LUVing attitude. While no airline is perfect 100 percent of the time, Southwest’s values are truly felt with every employee interaction you have.

In this instance, the business return comes through more than just monetary gain. It also comes through team loyalty. During the 1991 fuel crisis, it’s rumored that Southwest didn’t have to execute an employee pay cut strategy, because employees volunteered for it, just to keep the business operating.

How to Kick Off Change

Swapping out a business’ core values, or phrases that outline an organization’s overall culture, is meaningless unless it’s backed by strategy. What does your company or client want to accomplish, and how do you see the current workforce helping to successfully implement those goals?

It’s important to remember that this is not a one-and-done change. Updating an organization’s core values and culture is a delicate process, which should include waves of communication that engage the workforce through the transition. Creating vivid language around where the organization is going helps team members by giving them an inside look at the long-term plan. Transparency is key.

So Really, Why Should You Care?

As communications professionals, we have the ability to not only shape our own organization’s culture, but also help our clients ensure that their business objectives are in line with their core values. Although there is no cookie-cutter approach to revamping an organization in need of change, building a plan with a harmonized culture and strategy will set a solid foundation for success.

As a full-service communications and marketing agency, Idea Grove has its own set of internal goals and core values that work to shape our business strategy and agency culture. These include:

  1. We are idea people.
  2. We have a high motor.
  3. We own our stuff.

If you’re interested in learning more about how to grow a career with Idea Grove, visit our careers page

About the Author

Liza McIntosh
Liza McIntosh

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