The title is simple — culture eats strategy. The culture of your organization can throttle up, down, or totally eliminate the execution of any strategic plan. And we all know that any good strategy is useless without an effective execution.

Now take a step back. How does your company effectively shine light on it’s people-centered culture? A people-centered culture can drive the execution of strategy.

People centered cultures operate on the following principles (Journal of Organizational Psychology):

  1. All people are important
  2. A strong belief in people shapes the culture
  3. People working together perform at higher levels
  4. All people benefit.

“The view that all people (employees) are important provides the foundation for an exciting, supportive, dynamic, and innovative work environment. It also supports substantial growth and profits. To accomplish this, organizational leaders, middle management, and frontline supervisors must shift the focus from numbers and results to the organization’s greatest asset — the employees,” Drs. Jeanette Black and Kelly La Venture state in their recent publication in the Journal of Organizational Psychology.

“Employees are rational individuals who are seeking self-actualization (achieving one’s purpose in life), happiness, and wisdom. Thus, employees who are happy with the work environment and have a voice in organizational work life perform at higher levels. However, in a bureaucratic organization, the rules and regulations are designed to control behavior, while the reward structures are designed to buy the individual’s desire for the perfect life.”

If employees are not actively engaged in their life-long process of seeking self-actualization, happiness, and wisdom at work, it is almost certain that their productivity and quality of work will diminish.

Foster a people culture. It’s not easy and it doesn’t happen over night, but every stride can be effective if focusing on the key elements of a people-centered culture:

  • Open Communication and Dialogue;
  • Leadership that “walks the talk” and is involved;
  • High levels of trust;
  • Work environments focused on talent development and retention;
  • Leveraging people-first core values.

Where can you get started?

  • Work with managers and supervisors to ensure that they have structured check-ins with their employees; where they can discuss successes, problems, goals, life, etc. in an open and trust worthy manner
  • Ensure that leadership is engrained in every company-wide event or festivity. This is hard, of course, but wildly impactful.
  • Make sure that all employees understand the importance of their role in the company’s mission and performance. “By tying compensation to individual, business unit, and overall company performance, people-centered cultures give people a genuine stake in the financial health of the enterprise and in the process of working together. Employees who see a direct correlation between the day-to-day performance and paycheck tend to be more highly motivated, productive, and cost conscious,” as Drs. Black and La Venture said. Using Watchbox for Work, companies are able to make announcements about important events and meetings, increasing attendance and engagement in key discussions, like strategy meetings, major announcements, HR talks, etc.
  • Create an open, friendly, and fun environment where dialogue between employees, across all levels and regions, is as high as it can be. In our own experience, companies (regardless of size, type, volume of remote employees) can break down barriers easily, including geographic, work schedules, and the like, by enabling a virtual work place where they share experiences through photos, videos, etc. in Watchbox for Work.

The goal of this practice is to create a people-first culture that easily retains the culture (i.e., the employees!) and recruits new ones. A workforce working in a people-centered culture will help ensure the right foundation for a strong execution of any strategy.

Watchbox for Work was designed to effectively hit on the main aspects of a people-centered culture, like fostering an open and fun workplace to connecting employees across functions and regions to engaging leadership in the company life.

Send us an email if you’d like to learn more about how companies have seen their cultures positively feed their growth and strategy, rather than eat it, including Deloitte, Gallup, and a growing list of innovative companies.