Does culture still eat strategy for breakfast?
“What’s the culture like at HealthEdge?”
Having spent my career in Human Resources, this is a question candidates always ask me and I love the challenge of trying to answer this question. I know candidates want to hear about the perks, cool environment, and the fun we have, but explaining one's company culture is involved and I can’t seem to help myself from engaging with candidates on this topic.
Culture, by its very nature, evolves over time and describing a fluid concept in an interview (especially when we just met one another under an hour ago) is tricky. It is tricky because the answer people expect is surface level, but the real answer goes far beyond what you hear in the interview and see on the company's social media pages. It goes well beyond the comfy lounge furniture and funky wall decals, office parties, volunteer opportunities, happy hours, and seasonal festivities. These things are all wonderful and make this is a fun place to be and work, but these things are not at the heart of a company’s culture.
Corporate culture is a feeling you get when you walk in the door. It's the implied social contract for how we cooperate, communicate, and engage with one another. It is something that organically evolves over time based upon the cumulative actions of the people the company has employed. Culture is the under-current at the heart of everything we do. It’s woven into the internal and external operations of the business, defines how we approach our work, and drives what employees are naturally inclined to say and do when no one is looking.
Management guru Peter Drucker famously said, “Culture eats strategy for breakfast,” meaning that no matter how comprehensive and well-thought out a company’s business plans or goals are, they can only be successful if the culture underpinning the strategy is high functioning. In other words, the people who will execute the strategy need to not only understand the goals and priorities but more importantly know how to effectively engage one another to solve the company’s future objectives. While I don’t subscribe to all of Drucker’s philosophies, my experience has proven him to be spot on regarding culture influence over strategy.
At HealthEdge, our staff care deeply about doing their best in their respective areas to support our mission to improve the healthcare system. Additionally, our staff enjoy solving complex problems and identifying how best to overcome challenges. While our mission, vision, and corporate values are important tools that set direction and etiquette for our business, it is our collective behaviors – the grassroots efforts of how we live out those tenants – that makes us proud and defines us. Therefore, we screen candidates for culture fit, and the selection of people that end up joining HealthEdge is an intentional build on our culture. Corporate culture is not something that management can mandate, it is something that inherently grows from the ground up and defines us. It is much more than all the perks, parties and fun (but don’t worry, we’ll keep those too). We would be nothing without our staff’s commitment, diligence, and excellence. As such, yes – I believe culture truly can “eat strategy for breakfast”.
Keep reading the ‘Edge Report to learn more about HealthEdge’s culture in upcoming posts.