Why healthy team culture is the breakfast of champions for effective strategy implementation

We’ve almost certainly heard Peter Drucker’s famous saying, “culture eats strategy for breakfast.” But it’s not that simple – and it’s not about whether culture trumps strategy, but rather how a healthy team culture can enable effective strategy implementation.

There is a proven link between healthy culture and performance. The Department of Economics at the University of Warwick found that happy employees are 12% more productive than the average worker, while unhappy workers are 10% less productive. Further, a study by the University of Columbia found that employee turnover at organisations with a healthy culture sits at 13.9%. In contrast, employee turnover is nearly four times higher at 48.4% in organisations with an unhealthy team culture.

Organisations that foster a healthy team culture create higher employee engagement, loyalty, and purpose-driven teams that go above and beyond, solving problems creatively and at pace. Research clearly shows that cultivating a healthy culture is critical. In order to cultivate this culture, it’s necessary to first understand the elements of healthy team culture.

What are the ingredients for a healthy team culture in the recipe for strategy implementation?

Team culture is a unique social phenomenon that is complex and difficult to replicate. However, we have seen a few notable elements in organisations that are worth considering for successful strategy implementation:

Strategy Implementation

Shared leadership: Cultivating a culture of empowerment and trust

When leaders create a culture of empowerment and trust, it encourages buy-in, ownership, and accountability. More importantly, it distributes leadership, enabling more precise decision-making at a higher velocity, ultimately driving strategy implementation. Businesses are built at the speed of trust, and trust is the foundation of an organisation’s strategy.

Shared values, beliefs, and mindsets: Embodying the culture

The crux of any successful CVP is the ability to articulate how a business will address its targeted customers’ needs. Through a well-formulated CVP, businesses can convince customers of their product or service, making a CVP a powerful tool for communication.

Culture is lived, driven by the top, and embodied by the leaders in an organisation. It filters into the heart of the organisation, creating shared values and beliefs and a single direction of travel. This enables focused and purposeful strategy implementation that is well-aligned to the organisation. Authenticity and shared values facilitate successful and sustainable strategy execution over the long term.

Shared goals: Rowing in the same direction toward our goals

When an organisation creates alignment on objectives, it creates a domino effect. Work performed by each individual reinforces work done by others to implement the overarching strategy successfully. The sum of the parts is greater than the whole, and together the organisation creates momentum and motivation to drive its strategy implementation forward.

What are the ingredients for a healthy team culture in the recipe for strategy implementation?

Business leaders need to invest time and effort into understanding how their organisation’s culture can influence strategy implementation and execution.

In doing so, they cultivate a culture in which employees are empowered to make decisions, informed by shared values and aligned to the overarching goal. Organisations are then well-positioned to thrive and achieve effective strategy implementation.

At Step, we coach and implement Objectives and Key Results (OKRs) as a goal management and strategy implementation methodology for our clients. The OKR methodology promotes outcomes-based management, the bedrock of which is shared leadership, shared values and shared goals. As we walk alongside the leaders we serve, we provide them with objectivity, expertise and capabilities to enable them to cultivate a healthy team culture of empowerment and trust.

Resources:

Andrew J. Oswald, Eugenio Glasgow, Daniel Sgroi (University of Warwick), 2009, ‘Happiness Makes People 12% more productive

Elizabeth Medina (University of Columbia), 2012, ‘Job Satisfaction and Employee Turnover Intention: What does Organizational Culture Have To Do With It

Megan Bybee

Author Megan Bybee

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