The CEO’s role in Building and Sustaining Culture


“Culture eats strategy for breakfast


“Culture eats strategy for breakfast” is a phrase originated by Peter Drucker and made famous by Mark Fields, President at Ford. It is an absolute reality, as we all know. The best strategic plans cannot be delivered upon if the culture of the organisation is going in a different direction, too slow, or resistant to change.


Organisational culture eats strategy for breakfast, lunch and dinner. You should attend to it.


However, while many studies show there is a direct correlation between a healthy, productive culture and a company’s bottom line, the majority of companies spend little time thinking, let alone doing anything about, this topic – even when they’re spending lots of time thinking about their business strategy.


Strategy, capabilities and culture need to be aligned 


Strategy, capabilities and culture need to be aligned and enabled for future success.


While CEO’s are responsible for the long-term sustainability and viability of their organization, and while culture plays such an important part in achieving the strategy and goals, yet the issues most critical to culture are often not measured.


What is Culture?


Culture is “the ideas, customs, and social behaviour of a particular people or society” or in the organisation space, the character, customs and behaviours of an organisation.


Where in the past it was difficult and costly to measure culture, recent and rapid innovations in technology means that measurement of culture is easier than ever before.


Thus, CEO’s can assess culture on a regular basis and then put in place actions to drive culture change.


This is more than a metric about employee engagement. 


Assessment of culture incorporates the elements that drive and demonstrate culture. Regular reports can show the status and movement of the organisation’s key cultural initiatives that are actioned on an ongoing basis. 




Assessing Culture 


Providing CEO’s with insights into the outcome metrics that contribute to a successful culture is easier than ever. Some areas to assess include:


1. Strategic alignment – the vision and goals are clear and understood by employees, and employees work is aligned  with where the business is going and how it is going to get there

2. Mission and purpose: The mission or purpose of the organisation makes employees feel their job is important and their company is making an important contribution to the world.

3. Trust in leadership and leadership inspiration – Employees believe in, trust and follow senior leaders who make employees enthusiastic about the future.

4. Compliance: The organisation is ethical, acts with integrity and is compliant with regulations.

5. Diversity and inclusion: Employees are treated with respect and diversity is embraced.

6. Employee engagement: Employees are engaged.

7. Performance management, feedback and recognition: The continuous performance management, feedback and recognition process supports employee development and performance as well as organisation performance.

8. Wellbeing:  The organisation cares about employee’s wellbeing.


Strategic HR


Strategic HR is about working in partnership with CEO’s to develop the people agenda including continuous performance management, recruitment, developing the talent pipeline, compensation, the creation and building of culture is critical to that agenda.


Thus, leaders need to think of their strategies and tactics for all of the above including culture.


How can we help


Our team of former HR Directors and HR Managers can support you in assessing and building your organisations culture using software tools which are accessible to SME’s.


We can also support you with your people agenda including organisation restructuring and re-configuration, continuous performance management, recruitment, developing the talent pipeline, compensation, and the creation and building of culture.


Next Steps


If you are a CEO or senior leader, and would like advice or support, please contact your CollierBroderick HR Advisor or call us on 01 8666426contact us, or email us on