Culture Is Not the Culprit

The April issue of Harvard Business Review features an article “Culture Is Not the Culprit,” by Jay W.Lorsch and Emily McTague. I recommend spending some time reading this. The authors interviewed current and former CEO’s who have made major changes in their companies. The leaders interviewed “…say that culture isn’t something you ‘fix’…culture change is what you get after you have put new processes or structures in place to tackle tough business challenges like reworking an outdated strategy or business model.” “Culture is an outcome – not a cause or a fix.” This resonates with me. I have always struggled a bit with the notion of changing culture as an end game of its own. The outcomes of an organization – results, market competitiveness, and culture – are the product of the processes, systems, and rewards that are in place. Lorsch and McTague profile the business challenges faced by four companies and their CEO’s – Ecolab, Delta, Ford, and Novartis. All were confronted by tough markets and strong competitors. Three of the four were managing large complex acquisitions and mergers. Two were on the brink of or coming out of bankruptcy. In these situations, the business demand was clear. The [...]