Change Whisperer – Gail Severini, Symphini Change Management Inc.

“Your culture is a competitive strategy – treat it that way” . Guest Post Mona Mitchell (“Culture eats Strategy” series Part 5)

Here’s another powerful voice from the “Culture eats Strategy” discussion currently running on LinkedIn in the Group Strategic Leadership Forum.  This one is from Mona Mitchell, CEO, Achieveblue Corporation.

I believe we must apply the same rigor to our culture strategy and development as we do to other core strategies.

Culture must be defined and measured, and continual improvement plans must be developed with the same degree of analysis, action planning and introspection as any other core strategy.

I believe that culture is not something that can be left for leaders to talk about in their annual report or trotted out for at town halls to the troops. It should not be a vague statement of nice words. You have to identify what is the Ideal culture required when you are defining your strategy and this must be done by the executive team. It might have some visionary titles but its components must be easily defined, understood and measured. It should be put in the context of the organization’s vision, values and strategies so that all can understand expectations at all levels of the organizations .

You should always have a measure of culture and once you understand the Actual operating culture against the Ideal, like any strategic process, there must be a strategy to close the gap. And this strategy must be as explicit as any strategy in the organization with accountabilities clearly defined and measurements in place.

This strategy can have and should have financial paybacks. These paybacks should be measured against other strategies.

Certainly the actions of an organization’s leaders will have a great impact in creating the climate that fosters the ideal culture. Many, when faced with the measurements and feedback, will understand how their own actions have created both the positive and negative aspects of the current culture, perhaps inadvertently.

If strategy is not deployed and you have a great understanding of your current culture, other structural issues can be identified which when addressed will substantially enhance the formation of an Ideal culture. These may be in areas such as physical or technological infrastructure; company business processes and policies; metrics or perhaps areas such as compensation and incentives. Again through prioritization and cost benefit analysis, we can identify those initiatives which can have the biggest benefit to our overall corporate success.

Mona is the President and CEO of Achieveblue Corporation, an organization focussed on growing and building vibrant organizational cultures. Mona is on LinkedIn here.

If you are interested in creating a “culture of change” – a “nimble” organization (“one that has a sustained ability to quickly and effectively respond to the demands of change while continually delivering high performance”) – check out a few posts from the master of change, Daryl Conner, here.  

And, if you would like to discuss strategy execution approaches we have implemented successfully for other Fortune 100 companies, it would be a pleasure to connect – you can reach me at

Most posts coming on this topic – subscribe above left so you don’t miss any.

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