Culture is at the heart of many great companies. It’s more enduring than strategy, and often makes the difference between a strategy’s success or failure.
But what if culture is the strategy, rather than separate from it? As strategy+business wrote, “Confining culture to the narrow role of ‘enabling’ strategy prevents it from strengthening strategy by being part of it. It also weakens the power of strategy to turn your company’s cultural strengths into a source of enduring advantage.”
That message was reinforced by the two speakers at our most recent Conscious Conversation, Managing Culture Intentionally, on September 12, 2017, held in conjunction with our great partner, ImpactHub Boston. Greg Kunkel, SVP and Co-Founder of Next Jump, and John Pepper, Founder and CEO of Boloco, both told stories of how they came to discover that culture is the most important determinant of their companies’ success. Through a discussion moderated by Colleen Brisport, independent business and human rights advisor, we learned that crafting culture is a long and arduous process of communication and empowerment.
The 50 participants each had something to say, as well. We broke into four groups and let the conversation flow. Ideas surfaced for influencing culture, but so did frustrations. Communications is important, for example, but are people listening? Giving feedback is empowering, but how it’s delivered and received makes a big difference. Leaders stress culture but they must walk the talk.
There are no easy answers to addressing culture, but the imperative to try new things came across strongly. Indeed, a strong validation came from several participants who told us they heard new ideas that they would try to implement. That’s what our conscious conversations are all about.