The Strategy of Culture, Part I

Management guru, Peter Drucker, once famously quipped that “culture eats strategy for breakfast”.  Decades later we are still trying to practically address that reality.  It's not that organizational leaders don’t wish their people were better communicators, or had improved self-leadership and self-awareness, its just that in business, we often ignore what we can’t measure. Too many times I’ve been in conversations where leaders were desperately digging for a “performance” reason to fire a toxic employee as if poisoning the work culture wasn’t impacting business results.

This conversation has come up in more than one setting recently and I’m wondering if there might be some tangible ways to measure company or office culture as a component of a larger strategy. I continue to have conversations with leaders who are trying to manage staff who are technically accomplishing their tasks while negatively impacting the culture. Seth Godin suggests some categories to start. Qualities like self-control, productivity, wisdom, perception and influence greatly impact culture and, ultimately, the bottom line. Just because they take more creativity to measure doesn’t mean its not worth the time to figure out. And, perhaps more importantly , these qualities can be learned.

Response time to maintenance issues, seamless payment processing and meaningful amenities are all key strategy markers. But, how staff interacts both internally and externally has just as big an impact on the success of the property. How do these realities play out in your office? What is one culture improvement you’d like to see occur this year? What steps could you take today to define and measure the impact of your office culture?

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