Leadership Culture

Culture eats strategy for breakfast

Nowadays, it’s a no-brainer: a strong, performance-oriented corporate culture is a competitive advantage for any company. It is the company’s mental software which critically shapes its business performance – such as strategy implementation, efficient processes, high customer satisfaction and employee commitment.

At its core, “culture” is quite simple to describe: culture is behaviour – the attitudes and behaviours of a company’s employees and leaders, from the top to the shop floor. In our view, the heart of any corporate culture and its key lever is the “Shadow of Leaders”, the daily behaviour and role modeled actions of the managers at the top.

Role-modelled behaviour by the top 100 is much more effective than direct leadership stimulus.

Top executives as role models

The transformation of a corporate culture is not the result of “culture events” or glossy brochures with new corporate values. It is first and foremost the daily task of the managers in the top 100 team to role model productive collaboration and leadership. Especially in times of transformation, top managers must be the best version of themselves: they have to combine competent management with transformational leadership. They have to manage deliverables efficiently. And they have to lead their employees through transformation effectively: winning their hearts and minds to create a positive and sustainable mindset shift. Transforming the culture means transforming the mindsets – and that starts at the top. Top managers are the role models for the change they want to see. Thus, successful culture transformation calls on every single top manager to be a behavioural role model.

But we’re all familiar with it – after an inspiring leadership programme ends, everyday life quickly kicks in and pushes you back into your old behavioural routines. Everyone has great intentions – and yet disciplined implementation is difficult. That’s why our corporate leadership programmes are always structured as a hybrid: live camps or webinars AND our digital “Daily Leadership Workout” to sustainably master the “knowing-doing-gap”. Building on the findings of neuroscience, this workout offers a unique learning approach: combining intellectual learning with learning through daily practice. Here’s the good news: since our brain is adaptable, you can change your thinking and behavioural routines by practising daily. You train your self-awareness and self-management for 8 weeks, with: 1. “Food for Thought”: intellectual input to inspire your thinking; 2. Self-reflection: questions to transfer the input into your daily practice; and 3. “Train your Brain”: micro-techniques to build new routines in thinking and acting.

In a high-performing culture, all managers are responsible for their own development – and that of their peers.

Exemplify, don’t specify – top 100 as a key asset in culture transformation

Growth focus. Leveraging business growth through personal growth.

Role modelling. Being your own role model for change instead of just talking.

Exploration. Learning boldly by experimenting and adapting.

Empowerment. Strengthening accountability by avoiding micro-management.

Self-organisation. Transforming “in the business, by the business, for the business”.