Culture eats Strategy for Breakfast – and Starbucks serves it with Coffee!

The best strategic plan will be derailed if it doesn't align with the culture OR if the people inside your organization don't understand the 'why' behind the strategy.  A great example is Starbucks, according to this HBR article ( "The cafe chain positions itself not just as a seller of coffee but as an experience provider, creating a “third place” for conviviality beyond home and the workplace. Walk into a Starbucks anywhere in the world and you will find a consistently comfortable and welcoming ambiance. But you don’t get that simply by telling your staff to be warm and friendly.

Starbucks’ culture is powerful because it is tightly linked to the company’s distinctive capabilities. The feel of Starbucks stores isn’t created merely by the layout and the décor — it exists because the people behind the counter understand how their work fits into a common purpose, and recognize how to accomplish great things together without needing to follow a script."

How well do your leaders explain the 'WHY' so all of your employees can embrace it and support it?

How can you do this?  Here are some tips from the article

  • identify a few positive attributes within your culture that are connected directly to your identity and the specific capabilities that are driving success in your business,
  • double down on them and find ways to accelerate and extend them throughout the organization.
  • Empower the critical few managers and employees who personify the best behaviors and can help you bring them to the forefront.

Before you embark on any 'culture change' event or wonder why your people don't behave in the way that you want them to,  ask yourself this - Do they know the why?

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