What has the Current Environment Revealed About Your Culture?

Texas Tribune: Austin during covid 19 quarantine
photo credit: Texas Tribune

“Culture eats strategy for breakfast!”

…is a statement attributed to Peter Drucker around 2011, although it has appeared in documents as early as the late 1980’s.  But, what does that mean?  It does not diminish the importance of strategy, it just underlines the dominant power of Culture.

Anaya Rose wrote in AZ Central, a part of the USA Today network, in April of 2018: “Organizational culture includes the shared beliefs, norms and values within an organization. It sets the foundation for strategy. For a strategy within an organization to develop and be implemented successfully, it must fully align with the organizational culture. Thus, initiatives and goals must be established within an organization to support and establish an organizational culture that embraces the organization’s strategy over time.

We have been struggling economically, socially, and culturally in this current environment since the beginning of the year ( ie. the 2020 pandemic quarantine).  Although the shock has yet to wear off, more and more organizations are building plans for dealing with the moment, as well as creatively trying to imagine and plan for their future.  As in all calamities, there are winners. But this time, it is not close to balancing out those on the short end.

There is a unique opportunity this pandemic environment offers. 

What does your reaction to this crisis reveal about your culture and your values when challenged?

One company that initiated a focused effort last summer to consciously build fundamental cultural behaviors, to drive performance, and to level up organizational engagement, told us it was holding up remarkably well and productivity was solid.

Others that thought they had a fair level of engagement have found their business culture fraying quickly in the face of their reactions to the current situation, which included the necessity to trim payroll.

People’s stories about how their needs were handled during this crisis will be told a hundred times.  What will they say about you?

There is no should in any of this!  We all have experienced moments of significant breakdowns, when all of the “self improvements” we have pursued fade quickly into old embedded unproductive default behaviors.

I have been working on not judging and being more patient for years, and have been fairly successful, until moments of urgency occur and something of importance is at risk.  All of a sudden, my mood shifts to panic and I despair at the number of idiots around me. This leaves me abundant material to work with.

So as this environment pushes ourselves and our organizations to default behaviors, where do you see strengths? And where do you see areas that disappoint you?  What does your leadership team see? These observations are fuel for substantial improvement and progress when the world starts to stabilize.

On the strategy front, a business associate of ours, Mauricio Quiroga, a Berkeley MBA graduate, who studied big data and data science at MIT, realized that the strategic practices of organizations were unequipped to deal with the current global condition. Seeking a strategic approach that might, he found the United States Army’s approach to strategize in hostile and combat situations.  Find Mauricio’s informative post HERE.

You have the answers. They are within. You just have to look newly!

Thank you,


Have you set fundamentals for your working organization? See ours HERE and let us know if we can help you with company-wide fundamentals to help embed the company culture you seek.

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