Culture Eats Strategy for Breakfast

One person can’t move a mountain…..

We’re working with a client that wants to implement a culture of continuous improvement, better engagement, improved communication, cost reductions – the whole gamut of improvement activities that is the core of our business. Yay! Our favourite type of work.

One of the best lessons we’ve learned in our line of business, is that MANY people need to change small habits that they do every day, to contribute to a transformational project like this.

A workplace culture that is risk averse can never embrace a transformational change that is hinged on innovation and brainstorming to arrive at its final goals. (Click to Tweet) The CEO can’t be the only one driving the strategy, and more importantly, the organization has to a) Execute the new changes but also b) develop a culture that supports the change. The challenge is – what comes first the chicken or the egg? Or in this case, what comes first culture or strategy?

How can you make small changes to change your culture to start, so that you can start executing that strategy right away (they often can’t wait)?

I’m late and have no idea why I’m here anyway!

Have you ever been sitting waiting for the other participants in a meeting to arrive, only to have them arrive late, not understand the context of the meeting, and feel like you haven’t gotten anything accomplished?

I’m going to share with you two secret tips that can improve the culture of your business, and they only require small changes from a few key people at the top of the food chain, to make these stick.

Too many people are rushing from back to back meetings. Being on time is a sign of respect for the other participants (and their time) and for the subject matter of the meeting.

  1. Always have an objective for the outcome of the meeting, so everyone understands what the purpose of their attendance is. For example: In today’s managers meeting, make the following final decisions for Project X: final budget and target completion date. Put this in the email request so everyone responding knows why they need to be there. Now you understand why you are there, what decisions are going to be made, and you make sure they are complete by the end of the meeting (because you arrived on time too….).
  2. 10% Late rule – if you are more than 6 minutes late for a 60 minute meeting and there isn’t sufficient quorum to make the decisions (outlined in a above) the meeting is cancelled and rescheduled.

I know it can be tough with back to back meetings, but some proactive timing (i.e. we have five minutes left and have a hard stop at 1pm, so let’s try to nail down the final numbers) and adherence to the rules do wonders.

As a teaser, I have two more secret tips to share with you – 1) The Word BUT is evil and 2) Email: Info & Action please. But you’ll have to wait until next time….. In the meantime – eMail us at or tweet us @whiteboardcons using #betterfastercheaper.