Peter Drucker said it best: “Culture eats strategy for breakfast.” What does this mean?

Joe O’Malia didn’t know the term “culture.” But he built a great one. He’d say things like, “If you and I park as far from the front door as we can, everybody will and we won’t have to make it a rule. It’ll become part of WHO WE ARE.” Little steps like that, passed on to all employees, made O’Malia Food Markets synonymous with CUSTOMER SERVICE throughout the Indy Metro area. I am in contact with and run into former O’Malia employees on a daily basis. To a man and woman, they talk about what a great place it was to work, Just yesterday, Bill Solomon, longtime meat cutter ( since 1971) now with Whole Foods,  told me, “If you could buy just one store back and we could staff it with about 75 real  ‘ O’Malia People’, we could kill it. “ Did my heart good!

Too many companies today think strategy is enough. Take marketing strategy, for instance. A company with a great marketing strategy is Best Buy. They send me an email a day. I gleefully delete all of them. Why? Because they have given me bad service more than once in the past.

Great service companies like Nordstrom and Southwest Airlines have strategy up the wing wang. But they also still have great cultures to bolster those strategies. They hire the right people. The train them well. They put them in the right seat on the bus. They EMPOWER them. They communicate with them and TELL THE TRUTH. And they work on continuous improvement.

Culture plus strategy will equal success.

Strategy without culture will have people deleting your emails.