Culture Eats Strategy for Breakfast

Renowned leadership guru Peter Drucker is thought to have once said that “culture eats strategy for breakfast.” What did he mean?

What he meant—and far be it from me to disagree—is that the culture of a company is what matters most. You can think of culture as the feeling you get when you interact with a company. For example, how do you feel when you interact with someone at Southwest Airlines? Now compare that with Walmart. See what I mean? It’s hard to explain but you know it when you see it.

A healthy culture is one that lives out its core values. Think of the core values as the heart, and every action the company takes as the heart beats.

Every company operates with certain core values. Some companies write them on the walls and yet act in ways which conflict with their core values. Other companies are understated about their core values, yet hold to them tightly. Whether a company broadcasts its core values or not, all companies have them.

It’s not about what companies say. It’s about what they do. One of Enron’s core values was “Integrity”. Hmmm.

At our company, we have distilled our core values based on what our best team members live for each day. We have always held to these core values, but only recently have we given them names. We’d like to share them with you.

Suntech’s core values are:

Team Player – We work as one team. We look out for each other and fight for one another.
Servant Heart – We serve everyone with whom we come in contact. That is who we are.
Quality Always – Everything we do should be done with excellence. We should be proud of our work.
Do the Right Thing – In all situations, no matter the cost (and there is a cost), we will do the right thing.
Golden Rule – We will treat people like we’d like to be treated.

As a friend, subcontractor, client, or vendor to Suntech, I want to be very clear about something here: we will sometimes fail at upholding our core values. We are not perfect. We will try, I can promise you that, but we will at times fall short. Feel free to call us on it. Feel free to bring inconsistencies to my attention by emailing me at brad@suntech-inc.com. Accountability matters.

You see, we believe building a culture takes work—but it matters. It matters because we have a mission:
Serving through unsurpassed commitment

Culture eats strategy for breakfast. Core values and a clear mission help to build a culture. We want to build a healthy culture and one that impacts your life in a positive way. We want to build buildings and provide jobs and leave this world better than we found it. This may sound a bit woo woo or fluffy for a construction company, but that’s okay with us. It’s our culture.

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