We always actively talk about how culture eats strategy for breakfast and how understanding the underlying way an organization processes decisions is critical when dealing with critical market changes. This notion of 'culture' and its 'importance' is never met with resistance. It is probably because it wouldn't seem right to deny it, just like saying that your employees are your company's most important asset. It's a polite thing to say.

In practice, very few really understand first-hand how culture is important. As a testimony, most leaders would declare that their business is very much into customer intimacy, product leadership, and not to forget operational excellence! As is, they are just words without real meaning beyond expressing a vague good intent.

In reality, company culture cannot embrace customer intimacy (market-driven), product leadership (future-driven), and operational excellence (process-driven) at the same time. You'd be lucky to excel in only one mode as it translates into a form of obsessive focus that few can develop and sustain, and that will push you away from the other modes.

And for operational excellence, is there a better example than this one?

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