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Culture Trumps Vision and Strategy

I just returned from spending some time in Seoul Korea. What a beautiful city and country. The people are amazing and very generous. I went there to train and develop pastors and church leaders. As I met and talked with the different leaders the thing that jump out at me was the difference in culture. You might say, “Wow Dwight, you are very perceptive that you notice that.” But here is my point. It is amazing how culture effects everything we do, and many times in the business world it goes unnoticed.You see culture is a relentless driver of people’s behavior. It is true in the different countries in our world as well as different companies.You say how important is culture? Well culture eats your vision and strategy every day. You can have a clear compelling vision and great strategy and still not get the results you desire, if your culture is not right.Culture is made of a basically 3 things:

  1. Vision: Why we are here? This answers the question: What impact do we want to have?

  2. Mission: What do we do? This is the elements that makes you organization stand out and is the reason that your customers will come to you and not go somewhere else.

  3. Values: Who are we? It answers the question: How do we carry out our mission? Basically, how do we behave?

In essence, there are three driving factors that create culture - what you do, how you do it, and what you deeply care about.No organization can do everything. Therefore, what you do is an important expression of who you are. So, what you choose you do and don’t do is a major factor in setting the culture of your organization. So, what does this mean? If no one is championing the culture - it will limit your organization.Dr. Sam Chand offers these thoughts about culture -The shape of an organization’s culture begins at the top level. The leader’s integrity, competence, and care for staff members create the environment where people excel or not.Here are some key principles to helping understand the importance of organizational culture:

  • Culture is the most powerful factor in any organization.

  • Culture is usually unnoticed, unspoken, and unexamined.

  • Culture determines how people respond to vision and leadership.

  • Culture most often surfaces and is addressed in negative experiences.

  • Culture is hard to change, but change results in multiplied benefits.

A positive culture will act as an accelerant for your vision. With a new appreciation for your culture, you’ll empower your staff members to do their very best—and love doing it. You will create the context for vision to grow. When your people feel valued, their enthusiasm will electrify your organization! There’s no magic formula—quite the contrary. Changing your organization’s culture will be one of the most challenging processes you’ve ever implemented, but I guarantee you, you’ll be glad you did.A healthy and vibrant culture is what attracts and keeps people that are committed to what a business stands for and it’s what ultimately attracts and keeps customers and fosters a strong external community. It begins in thinking through the mission, vision, and values, and then following through, living them out.

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