Spencer Stuart: Driving Business Performance through Alignment of People, Strategy and Culture

It is widely understood that culture can impede or facilitate performance, and that poor cultural fit is one of the most common reasons why newly hired executives fail. Spencer Stuart finds that despite the growing appreciation for culture, few executives can describe their company’s culture, what drives their culture or whether the current culture supports or works against their business plan.

Culture is usually difficult to define because it is often hidden and built up unconsciously as sets of shared assumptions over time. Thus once a culture is created it can be hard to change—people are comfortable with consistency and stability. This is why it is essential for companies to understand the drivers when assessing how culture aligns with business strategy.

Because the senior leadership team tends to have a disproportionate influence on the culture, selecting and developing executives and teams that reinforce the current culture — or help to evolve it — is one of the most important ways to make sure the culture is supporting the business. This is much easier to do when the framework directly connects individuals to the culture by using the same language to describe both organizational culture and the personal styles of individuals.

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