Recognise This! – Culture and strategy must be in balance in an organisation to achieve the greatest business success.

Harvard Business School recently issued a new business Case on The LEGO Group, makers of the famous toy plastic building blocks I’m sure most of use recall with great fondness (except, perhaps, for the parents who step on forgotten blocks in their bare feet in the middle of the night).

In its nearly century-long history, LEGO transitioned from family leadership to external leaders, and found itself in need of not one, but two turnarounds. It’s the driving reason for the second turnaround that got my attention:

“The LEGO Group had also gotten too far away from the core values it had been building on for the better part of a century. The toymaker found itself needing to turn around its turnaround.”

What are those core values? A careful reading of the article on the business case points to several:

  1. Very high quality products
  2. Cautious, slow, steady growth
  3. Focus on narrow, interchangeable product set
  4. Informed innovation, not unconstrained creativity

I’m sure there are more, and these are different from the company’s brand values (Imagination, Creativity, Fun, Learning, Caring, Quality).

I encourage you to read the business case through the lens of the brand values. You begin to see how the external brand values play into the business strategy, but certainly do not overwhelm it. And it’s in this delicate balance that business success occurs.

Your core values define the culture of your organisation. They also inform your strategy and how you move forward as an organisation. Culture and strategy must be in balance, together.

Are culture and strategy in balance in your organisation?

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