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Crafting a Culture that Grows Strategy

The larger a business becomes, the more there is a need for robust corporate strategies to define its best direction. It does not only matter if a company has a dedicated strategy team or is only beginning to establish strategies; what counts more is whether the organization's culture supports this.


Culture is the pattern of behaviors that are reinforced by people and processed over time. To form a strategy, a company must establish a culture that encourages employees to think strategically. This starts with an individual's changing behavior and repeating it until it becomes the norm. By continuing this repetition process, what once was small "daily stuff" might turn into GREATer things. For example, choosing to respond to emails within the hour of receiving them, for employees are aware that the absence or delay in responding could have consequences on their colleagues or disrupt the overall workflow.


Reinforcing positive behavior to become the norm is only the first step, and it is insufficient to be the minority in an organization that engages in the process. As such, a "ripple effect" or persistent and pervasive influence is required. This case demonstrates an individual's power of influence towards others: a study by Prof. Robert Caldini from Standford shows that 33% of hotel visitors reuse their towels after learning that most guests do so. Just as this example highlights how simple it is to influence others positively, the same holds for negative impacts. According to research cited by Business Insider, if a person has an obese friend, they are 57% more likely to become obese.


A strong hard side of the culture must accompany its counterpart: the soft side. Diverse individuals may be motivated to act, but when there is no guiding principle in their thinking, they operate independently without cohesion. Everyone can perform tasks accordingly, share ideas, build synergy, and be aware of their roles and contributions if there are specific processes or pillars.

Equal consideration must be paid to both the soft and hard aspects of culture while establishing a culture. Having a culture that cultivates strategy enables an organization to be future-ready, thereby preparing employees to adopt any strategy in the future.

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