Culture Eats Strategy For Breakfast

As our current financial year ends a number of things have changed with lots of learns along the way, but instead of this being a “look at us aren’t we great post” Antony Rowe wanted to share his biggest learn this year which he believes has positively impacted Atkins Search in everything we do.

So, I overheard someone say at a meeting:

“Culture eats strategy for breakfast”

After a bit of research I found them to be the words of management guru Peter Drucker, but it really resonated with me. I felt it encapsulated the last 12 months of this business and the path we were on, which got me thinking:

“Can you turn your culture into a competitive advantage?”

The Recruitment industry, where I have been gainfully employed for nearly 20 years, has a very macho, grow big quick, take other businesses best people, we are better than you because we have an office in NYC – image, but what exactly does all that mean, does culture matter or is it all about who has the biggest ego and bank balance?

“Culture is everything – attitudes, values, beliefs, habits of thought and activity”

My experience in leadership roles has predominantly been focused on strategy and performance ahead of culture, as they are measurable, where culture isn’t. So why has it always been like this?

“A good culture is nice to have but we can’t spend it”

Well maybe we don’t need to as it finances itself, as bad culture will cost you. I will always remember a business owner I worked for sacking his PA because, in his own words, she didn’t do much and he wanted to save her salary, but she was the glue that kept the whole business connected, and it was never the same again.

It has become very clear in the past 12 months at Atkins Search that culture isn’t the enemy of strategy and performance, but an equal player in this game. We have worked very hard on focusing on who we are and what we want to be. Creating an Atkins Search vision and aligning it with our business strategy and objectives.

This is us:

  • Values – Specialist – Professional – Ethical – Consultative – Team
  • Brand promise “The right person at the right time for the right business”
  • Purpose “To be the company recognised for quality of service in the recruitment industry”
  • Goal “By 2035 to become the industry leading construction, property and infrastructure recruitment business recognised for quality of service operating in the UK and internationally”

To realise these goals we need to use the force of our positive culture to drive the businesses strategy. Its very early days, but I’m a believer that Culture doesn’t need to eat Strategy for breakfast, but maybe they need to be clearly sitting at the same table working hard together to achieve everyone’s goals.