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Culture Ate Your Lunch

by | Aug 5, 2020 | Discoveries

We’re familiar with the phrase originated by Peter Drucker—culture eats strategy for breakfast. Time and again we’ve crafted brilliant strategies and perfected plans only to have them crash against the immovable wall of organizational culture. A culture attached to habits, preferring the zone of comfort. “But I like it that way,” the message conveyed through pouts and crossed arms. A preponderance for “prove it” when you make the case for change.

A silver lining of 2020? We find ourselves in a culture change learning lab filled with real-time lessons. Here’s the biggest lesson of all. The pandemic didn’t stop with breakfast.

Covid-19 didn’t get the memo about buffets. All you can eat is still open. Culture ate strategy for lunch across America in 2020. Here’s one example. We won’t adopt a new habit–mask wearing–to facilitate a reopening of our economy.

I shared this realization during last week’s webinar. At the end of the session a colleague asked, “What’s your advice for consultants?” I shared two messages you’ve heard from me.

  • Be proactive
  • Be the silver lining

I’m doubling down on the first one today, dear colleagues. Be proactive. Quit waiting for calm. Recognize that turbulence is here to stay. I’ve heard from many of you that uncertainty is the biggest challenge in the VUCA world. What is certain for the next 6-12 months? This level of uncertainty. Let that sink a bit, then get on with it.

Lean in to create the new. Need a boost? Reach out to people who thrive on ambiguity, individuals unfazed by uncertainty. Artists relish this unpacking as it unleashes creativity. Invite a few over, pay them for their time, and engage them in helping you recreate for 2022.

Be brave. Go first. Then share what you’ve learned. Your colleagues are hungry for examples of business model reinvention.

Let this be the year strategy overcame culture’s resistance.

Welcome to the new avant-garde.

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