July 2, 2022
What is the Difference Between Culture and Strategy

Culture and strategy go hand in hand, you can’t have one without the other!. But what is the difference between culture and strategy? Culture can be thought of as the “soul” of your organization. It is the set of values, beliefs, and norms that define who you are as a company.

Culture influences your people decisions and how you want things done around the office. Strategy is all about figuring out how to get to where you want to go. It’s about setting goals and executing plans that will lead you there. Strategy focuses on big picture thinking and developing strategies to meet those goals

Here are some ways to make sure you make your culture and strategy work well together:.

How do culture and strategy work together?

Build a culture that supports the vision of the organization. People need to buy into the mission and vision of the organization, if they don’t they won’t feel committed to your vision. Everyone needs to feel like they are part of a team.

Culture is the soul of an organization. Every piece of work, every customer interaction, every product, and every marketing campaign is based on the values and beliefs of your company. If your culture is not consistent, how can you tell your brand story?

The way to figure out the key values for your culture is to ask what your company’s core values are. If you are like most people your company values will be fairly generic. In order to be consistent, you must have some direction.

The difference between culture and strategy

Culture is a human-centered set of values, beliefs, and norms that define your organization’s culture.

Strategy is a human-centered set of goals and a set of tactics used to achieve those goals.

Organizational culture is simply the sum of every culture decision you make to define your culture.

The culture/strategy balance is between making decisions that are based on the behaviors you want to achieve (what is the goal of the organization?) and making decisions that will satisfy the behavior you want to be motivated (what’s the motivation behind your employees.

Your culture decisions and behaviors will be reflected in the culture/strategy balance. Let’s say, for example, you want your culture to be “leading-edge” but your strategy is being green.

How to create a great company culture

Sometimes the changes and new things that happen at a company are very confusing and can lead to a loss in momentum. One of the easiest ways to reduce confusion and improve results is to cut back on the amount of new initiatives that you introduce to the organization. Each change should only be tested for 3 to 6 months.

Don’t think that having a great culture is enough to create an amazing business, you need to take responsibility for that culture too.

Create a company culture

Find ways to communicate and share your culture values to employees. Employees need to feel like they are contributing to something larger than themselves.

Put a point person in place to drive culture and encourage employees to share their ideas for initiatives. Take time to reflect on the culture you’re creating and communicate these values to employees consistently.

Ask yourself the following questions: Do we have a culture of flexibility? Does the company have clear and measurable goals for the future? Does everyone know who to go to if they want help?

Strategically determine how you want your employees to work towards achieving the goals you set and make sure they know how to get there.

Start with strategy

Here are a couple good places to start when defining culture and strategy:

  1. Define core values

A strong culture is a result of defining your corporate values and then taking them out in action. These values should reflect your corporate mission, vision, and core values. What matters the most to you as an organization? For example, if you want your employees to be innovators and you want to hire and develop creative thinkers, then your core values should reflect that.

  1. Cultivate values in action

Cultivating a strong culture in your organization will only happen if your values are included in everyday work situations and the people you hire. Set guidelines for how employees should treat one another, the office, and other constituents.

The importance of culture in the workplace

Having a corporate culture that embraces diversity of people and all walks of life is so important to creating a dynamic work environment. Diversity is not about having people from different races, religions, and cultures come together, it’s about having an environment that accepts, appreciates, and inspires different ways of thinking and working.

Look around your office, would your employees look like your customers? If not, why not? Different gender, ethnicity, sexual orientation, religion, and sexual identity bring new perspective and ideas that can be a great benefit to your company. Let your employees know that you value diversity and encourage them to bring their unique ideas and perspectives to the table.

Keep your strategies relevant to your culture

Culture drives strategy. A successful culture will be able to discern new ideas that come from your company strategy and react to them appropriately, no matter if they come from leadership, peers, external influences, or anyone else.

As soon as you introduce your strategy, it will be incumbent upon you to make sure it’s not completely out of sync with your culture and values.

At one of the largest private insurers, Allstate, their culture’s foundation was founded on the idea of leading by doing. In the early days, their culture began to be defined by who would get promoted, where the most potential would be found, and who would succeed based on merit alone. But as the company grew, many of these beliefs and values were seen as outmoded and out of sync with who they were as a company.

Establishing objectives and measurement

Having strategic goals is vital to a successful company, but it’s just as important to determine what those goals will be. Make sure you are setting concrete objectives for your goals. This helps you stay on track and you can achieve better results by being more focused.

It’s very common to have differences in certain areas. It’s vital to assess your strengths and weaknesses, and improve or strengthen them to better align with your organization’s goals. You also need to know what sets your company apart from the competition.

This is the what makes your company unique, special and distinguishes it from the rest. Being able to recognize your strengths and areas where you need to improve will help you identify those areas and improve them.


Culture is all about changing behaviors and putting them into action. However, culture must be taken into consideration when building an organization. People like to know where they fit in and what they can expect from their co-workers. If there’s too much confusion in your environment, confusion will lead to confusion and frustration.

The sooner you can find the right balance between culture and strategy, the better off you’ll be. The first step is to have an honest conversation about what values you want in the company and how those are being displayed. Get to know your people and put your values into action. Ask your employees how you’re doing in areas like hiring, training, and performance reviews.



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