This key question can be answered in a number of ways but how about addressing it by looking at the failure of culture on a grand scale?  Take the AOL-Time Warner merger for example a decade or so ago.  2 CEO’s (Gerry Levin & Steve Case) decided to merge their companies, 2 very different animals, and right from the start a disastrous $350 billion decision that was doomed from the start.  Why?  In spite of some similarities between the 2 companies (such as a subscription based business model) the merger was likened to ‘mating a horse with a dog’.

And history proved this to be true 

While there were a number of issues including AOL valuation, the merger represented a gigantic culture clash between a traditional media company and a dot com at the height of the technology bubble.  Strategically there were a number of reasons this deal could have been a good idea so why did it fail?  The idea may have had some merit but execution was lacking.  The challenge of  merging two very different cultures was underestimated and hence not give the attention it deserved.  A probable idea turned into a ‘marriage from hell’ and the companies eventually separated.  While not as publicized, there have been numerous other examples similar to the AOL-Time Warner story.

So what does this have to do with organizations in Victoria and BC in general?

Simply put, we as stakeholders in Victoria organizations would benefit by understanding and accepting the importance of culture and then be willing to act accordingly.  By recognizing the critical link between strategy and culture and then taking steps to actively manage culture, we can position ourselves to do even better than we already are and of course avoid a costly disaster.  This is true regardless of our size, mandate, a profit or service motive and many other factors.  Like other key attributes, organizational culture should be measured regularly and (at least) when major changes are taking place such as an M&A or shift in business priorities.  Plans for managing the culture can then be developed to maintain it or move it in a direction that better facilitates the organizational strategy.

So, why is organizational culture important to us now?

It allows us to be the best we can and in doing so better address the needs of our customers and citizens.  All this with minimal extra investment or special effort.  Best of all once we go along this path we gain a momentum that keeps things getting better and better.

That benefits all of us.  Thanks for reading.