Corporate Culture and Strategy Implementation

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Folktales at FedEx abound about a delivery person who was given the wrong key to a FedEx drop box. So ingrained was the culture of “next-day delivery guarantee” that the delivery person unbolted the box from its base and took it back to the office where it was pried open. The contents were delivered the next day. It is not important whether this folktale is true or not. What is important is that this story illustrates Fedex’s corporate culture: every employee helps in the achievement of FedEx’s reputation of reliable overnight delivery. All organizations have their own folktale. What’s yours?

“This is the way we do things around here.” Do you not tell this to every employee who joins your organization? Your organization has its own work environment, its own way of doing things, its own processes and its own politics. How your organization approaches problems, what it believes in and its thought process defines its personality. This is what is corporate culture. It is born out of your organization’s beliefs and philosophies about why it does things the way it does. It is born out of how you with your stakeholders. Consistently doing the things you do results in your corporate culture.

Culture is formed by screening and selecting new employees who share the same values as your organization. However, culture evolves, it is not static. Both internal (hiring, staff turnover, etc) and external (technology, competition, etc.) factors shape your culture. Your beliefs, vision, objectives and business practices may be compatible with culture. If this is the case, your culture becomes a valuable ally in strategy implementation. On the other hand, if there is conflict then you do not have a strategy-culture fit and you need to do something about it quickly.

Strong cultures promote successful strategy implementation while weak cultures do not. By strong culture, I mean there is a shared belief in practices, norms and other practices within the organization that helps...
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