Chief Executive Officer, OBN
Culture, strategy and leadership are arguably the three most powerful things to get right in a business. The best leaders understand their importance and get these building blocks in place early.
While many large corporations invest in culture and strategy, they don’t always get it right. Around 79% of leaders (from 6,000 surveyed) believed their strategy was not clear, differentiated or resourced enough. Two-thirds thought that their culture was holding them back.
Beneficial in business
When they get it right, the results are impressive — three times more likely to outpace the market growth and twice as likely to have above-average profits.
What makes it hard for big businesses is overcome in the small technology sector: scale.
Change in a large organisation is time-consuming. Running a small business means they implement quickly and achieve results faster.
Investing time in the important but not urgent things ultimately saves you time. In the case of being clear on culture and strategy, it could also mean the difference between survival and extinction.
A sound culture attracts and retains good staff (retention saves time and distractions are avoided). A robust and well-considered employee strategy therefore naturally enhances the chances of success.
Strategy (where to play and how to win) is well understood, but culture is more ethereal. Mission (purpose) is key. This clarifies why your business exists.
In the case of being clear on culture and strategy, it could also mean the difference between survival and extinction.
When purpose and strategy are aligned with an employee’s sense of what is important, they are more likely to stay, be actively engaged and advocate the business’s activities. This means that leaders can focus on fundraising without being constantly distracted by crises and backfilling recruitment.
Setting goals early
Arguably, working in life sciences and healthcare is the greatest purpose humans can have. What we do matters — to us, our families and society. Being clear about our role is worthy of time invested early on.
Once the mission is clear, the leader can set their vision (the aspirational future in the next five to ten years) and values (the way we do things). This helps gives staff a sense of hope and excitement about what the future might hold and provides guide rails for strategy (if it’s not supporting the vision, it’s probably not on-strategy).
Now, we know that culture and strategy are key to business growth and success. But in case anyone out there is thinking that it’s ‘OK’ to just develop a strategy – consider what business guru Peter Drucker said: “Culture eats strategy for breakfast.”