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Why Does Culture 'Eat Strategy For Breakfast'?

Peter Drucker was famous for this alleged quote: "Culture eats strategy for breakfast."

In working with many entrepreneurs, I have found this to be very true, as the culture is the secret sauce that keeps employees motivated and clients happy.

In fact, I recently read a great quote that said, "People do not just quit companies or leaders … they quit organizational cultures."

I’d like to share with you two stories of clients for whom culture was the dominant factor in whether they were successful in taking the business to the next level or are still treading water.

Nathan founded a family-owned security services business over 30 years ago, and today, he has his brothers and some of their wives in the business. His success is in the very prestigious clientele that trust him for his services.

From the get-go, I was impressed by his entire company having this unbelievable can-do attitude. Every curveball thrown at them was an opportunity for growth. The leadership displayed a unique blend of humility and confidence. Integrity was a real goal in everything they did.

The best story I remember was when the head of security at one of their largest customers was moving to another large company that they weren’t doing business with. Quite frankly, they were somewhat happy that he was moving, as he was a real stickler for details, and keeping him happy was a huge effort.

A few days after he moved to the new company, he called Nathan and said, "I know I was tough on you guys, but you’re the best out there. Can you help me at my new company?

Their culture statement was very impressive, and what I found was that they really meant every word. Here are some highlights:

• Their core values were first and foremost based on the principles they lived by.

• They believed in making a difference for their clients and their employees.

• They really cared about each other, about their customers and about empowering everyone to do their best.

• They believed in working together and strived for feedback, collaboration and diversity.

• They reached for the stars and weren't afraid to fail, as if you fail, at least you will land on the moon.

"At Security Systems, we innovate, we test -- and we learn along the way."