A strategy can be written in short order and communicated to the team by using multiple mediums in a matter of weeks. The best part is that if you get it wrong, the strategy can be adjusted and changed as needed. Culture, on the other hand, is a big deal. Every company or organization gets the culture it deserves. To make matters worse, when you end up with the wrong one, it can take a generation to fix it.
In the January 23, 2006 Wall Street Journal, Debbie Holton wrote an article regarding a quote made by Ford that "Culture eats strategy for breakfast." She commented that this quote comes from the war room of the new Ford makeover. The article sums it up in one paragraph. "Mr. Fields says he is now trying to rouse and create a sense of urgency in a corporate culture that has withstood repeated efforts at overhauls, ranging from former CEO Alex Troutman's sweeping Ford 2000 globalization effort, to former CEO Jacques Nasser's dot-com era campaign to remake Ford into a diversified consumer-products company with a strong internet component."
Have you seen a world-class strategy crushed under the weight of miscalculated culture? What could have been done differently?