The Strategy-Culture Disconnection

By Price Pritchett

The Conference Board recently invited me to give a keynote presentation to members of its Council of Strategic Planning Executives. 

In my talk I highlighted an insidious threat facing organizations that are growing rapidly via M&A:  A loss of alignment between corporate strategy and the existing culture.

If these two fall out of sync, you’ve got a real dilemma on your hands.  But the disconnect often goes unnoticed by top management and the board of directors, even as it quietly undermines operating effectiveness.

So what causes strategy and culture to fall out of alignment?

Think of it this way.  Strategy is forward-oriented.  It’s today’s game plan for tomorrow.  Culture, on the other hand, is essentially the product of your history.  One is shaped by the future, the other is forged by the past.  That’s a dramatic difference and it has huge implications ...