Culture Eats Strategy Every Time…

We have all heard the famous phrase, “Culture eats strategy every time.” In terms of hiring, what does this really mean to an executive or manager looking to bring new people on to their team? More than you might think…

Take, for example, the situation where a manager needs to hire a new person to expand the team. As you probably already know, a team within a company creates a sub-culture among itself in addition to the broader company culture. These two cultures, by the way, may not be the same and in most cases are not.

Before expanding her team, a manager needs to make a decision. Does she like the current culture that exists within the team or would she rather modify or replace this culture over time? This should be the first question asked before any hiring process begins. If she wants to maintain the culture and continue to build on the current infrastructure, then it would be important to have the team very active in the interview and hiring process to ensure the candidate is a good fit, as well as has the right technical capabilities. If she wants to start changing the culture because it just isn’t working or has morphed into something she doesn’t like, then there would be less, if any, team involvement in the hiring process.

Culture is huge – in both a team environment as well as in a company. We often see situations where the manager either doesn’t make this decision up front or is oblivious to any issues around culture. My advice is to consider your team and company cultures in your screening strategy, before you begin hiring. Once you’ve decided on the type of culture you want to sustain, build your hiring process around the direction you want to go with your team. You will save a lot of consternation down the road and the new employee will have a significantly greater chance of success.