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Culture and Change

Culture eats Strategy for Breakfast | Structure eats Culture for Lunch

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There is the often repeated statement attributed to management guru Peter Drucker, “Culture eats strategy for breakfast”,  made famous by Mark Fields then Ford’s President of the America’s and now rebuked by Safi Bahcall.

According to Bahcall’s new book, LOONSHOTS, “Structure eats culture for lunch.”  The point is not that there’s a lot of corporate “eating” going on.  The point is corporate culture and its impact on innovation and change is now gaining attention.  It should.

One of the culture prophets, identified as one of the Top 50 Thinkers in the world, is Fons Trompenaars.  In 1997, Trompenaars and his partner Charles Hampden-Turner, published “Riding the Waves of Culture” based on 10 years of research with corporate business leaders in 40 countries. That research generated more than a series of business books, it established The Seven Dimensions of Culture Model.  The Model remains a research-based tool to assist organizations and corporations to understand people from different cultural backgrounds better, preventing misunderstandings and enjoying better working relationship with them.


Business transformation can’t be achieved without understanding the culture of your organization. A successful merger or acquisition may buy market share, but cannot be sustained without understanding the culture of the two entities to be able to build a united team to advance the blended corporation. The key to effective culture and change is “dilemma reconciliation” and this is where the brilliance of the Trompenaars Model is evident. As Trompenaars states, “Diversity and inclusion are like Yin and Yang. Both lead to pathologies if not interacting." The difference is made through leadership. The dilemma reconciliation process is based on including people of diverse backgrounds by reconciling their joint challenges. The CG Group’s Strategy Practice Lead, Nancy Coldham, is certified in the Trompenaars program, including its management of change frameworks and its leadership blueprint for managing cross-cultural issues in any M&A deal in our rapidly expanding and increasingly volatile global economy.


Culture and change are rooted in values. The “hard” side of any offering can be readily duplicated as technology is accessible to all.  But, the way something is created, produced and offered is where your “culture” resides, a special asset that could take a decade or more to be duplicated. Culture is HOW you do something great; not just the WHAT. Culture and values are the drivers of impact.


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As Fons Trompenaars states, “Diversity and inclusion are like Yin and Yang. Both lead to pathologies if not interacting."

If you have a “hunger” to translate the intangibles of culture and values to achieve change, give us a call.


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