Culture and Strategy

In many instances, a company's strategy is ingrained with an age-old culture and attitudes shaped either by the original founders or the new leaders. Cultural alignment has a very deep impact on the organization's strategy and its effectiveness.

While strategy drives the focus and direction of the organization, its culture depicts the emotional and organic habits that the people adopt to implement those strategies and achieve objectives. This means that a company strategy only represents the headline of the goals, while culture is what determines desire, engagement, and execution.

A company culture is more likely to drive operations than its company strategy. The mission, vision, values, and expectations derived by the culture are what shape the strategy, not the other way around. Unfortunately, this may also mean that there may be an element of poor ethics developing because of the culture, which may become an impediment to the organization's way forward.

For example, if the culture embraces the strategy, the goals become much clearer, scalable, and sustainable. Not only that, but the growth is also sustainable this way. However, if the culture doesn't accept the new strategy, there are bound to be problems such as insubordination, poor morale, corruption, or even mutiny.

One of the best ways to create a strong ethical culture is to develop a strategy that reflects the company culture, hence avoiding the need for unethical behavior such as corruption, cutting corners, or misusing company assets. If, however, a strategy needs to be devised that does not reflect organizational culture, it is important to adopt it in phases, or to first try to change the culture from within.

Unfortunately, when trying to change organizational culture, there are most likely going to be conflicts and misbehavior. Organizations and their employees often refrain from doing the right thing if it means they would have to go against the prevailing culture. However, when adopting a new strategy and culture in bits and pieces, the ethical dilemmas aren't as intensive, and can be managed relatively easily.

Security guards can adopt the following practices to deal with their team's and the organization's ethical dilemmas.

1. Be a role model for the team and other employees

2. Be visible when doing the right thing and present their intentions of accepting the new culture.

3. Communicate ethical ambiguities and the solution that company leaders are adopting to ensure an environment based on ethics and company strategy.

4. Drive ethical rules from company values, expectations, and mission.

5. Conduct ethical training seminars

6. Reward ethical acts visibly. Condemn unethical ones.

7. Provide employees with a protective mechanism to ensure that employees can safely discuss ethical dilemmas. Security managers should avoid reprimanding poor ethical judgment at all costs until the unethical decision has been made.