5 Cultural Actions to Live a New Strategy

5 Cultural Actions to Live a New Strategy
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Cultural Actions to Live a New Strategy
Effective strategies outline clear and compelling choices about where to play and what actions to take in order to be successful. Done right, a successful strategic plan sets a company up to perform beyond the sum of its parts. When it comes to performance however, strategy is the beginning, not the end; if you want to execute a new strategy, you must define the key cultural actions to live a new strategy .

Workplace Culture Matters
To be successfully executed, your strategy must go through your people and your culture.  Our organizational alignment research found that culture accounts for 40% of the difference between high and low performance.  Companies with healthy, high performing, and aligned workplace culture are far more resilient and better able to thrive whenever a company shifts their strategic direction.

A New Strategy Often Requires a New Way of Getting Work Done
When strategies and leaders change, how people think, behave, and work on a day-to-day basis often needs to change. Here are 5 cultural actions to live a new strategy:

  1. Create Strategic Clarity
    Strategic clarity accounts for 31% of the difference between high and low performance.  If you want people to follow, you must paint a clear, compelling, believable, and implementable path forward.  Do not underestimate this step; more often than not, employees tell us that strategic priorities are confusing, unsupported, and conflicting.
  2. Translate Your Strategy into Behavioral Terms
    While most leaders are adept at outlining new desired financial results to achieve the new strategy, they rarely define the specific behavioral expectations associated with achieving and sustaining the new vision.  If you want to execute your new strategy, invest the time to define how employees should act in their roles across ten dimensions of culture to best execute the new strategy.  Then focus on the one or two cultural gaps that should be addressed to help move strategy execution forward.
  3. Build a Structure to Ensure Behavior Adoption
    To jump start and maintain behavioral shifts at work, four things must be true: (1) a compelling reason for employees to change, (2) leaders who visibly, consistently, and successfully role model the new ways, (3) the competence and confidence required to change, and (4) accountability, information-sharing, and reward mechanisms aligned with the new ways of working.
  4. Reward and Coach on an Individual Basis
    Acknowledge individual differences by tailoring incentives, rewards, and different preferred learning modes and paces to the individuals on your team. One size does not fit all, and your attention to individual working styles will pay off in the end.
  5. Listen and Adjust
    Almost every shift in strategy faces some form of change resistance.  As the transformation moves forward, ensure that you have an effective process to gather and act upon employee feedback.  Track progress and continuously adjust to circumstances on the front line.

The Bottom Line
When strategies change (the what), the way work gets done (the how) must often change accordingly.    Have you invested the time to ensure that your culture is helping, not hindering, your strategy execution?

To learn more about the cultural actions to live a new strategy, download How to Build a Purposeful and Aligned Corporate Culture.

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