‘Culture Eats Strategy For Breakfast’

Go Lean Commentary

Congratulations to the New England Patriots of the National Football League. They won SuperBowl LI on Sunday February 5, 2017 – beating the Atlanta Falcons 34 to 28 in a dramatic comeback – in which they overcame a 28 to 3 deficit. Their victory proved the validity of the business axiom:

Culture eats strategy for breakfast, lunch and dinner.

CU Blog - 'Culture Eats Strategy For Breakfast' - Photo 2This phrase was articulated by distinguished management consultant Peter Drucker and made famous by Mark Fields, a former President of Ford Motor Corporation. This corporate best-practice – good for nation-building as well – is that this axiom is more than just theory, it is an absolute reality! Any company, or community for that matter, disconnecting the two (culture and strategy) are putting their success at risk.

This expression made a leapfrog to NFL football in 2014 when the Head Coach of another team, Philadelphia Eagles, referred to the concept in a passing comment. See the full origin story in this link:

How ‘Culture Beats Scheme’ Became Eagles’ Motto

The New England Patriots SuperBowl win is proof-positive of the culture-first ethos. Talent abounds in the league; all 32 teams have the same opportunities and yet, none can boast the Patriots’ history of success. Why? This team has focused heavy on its culture … and has the success to show for it:

The Patriots have appeared in the Super Bowl nine times in franchise history, the most of any team, seven of them since the arrival of head coach Bill Belichick and quarterback Tom Brady in 2000. The Patriots have since become one of the most successful teams in NFL history, winning 14 AFC East titles in 16 seasons since 2001, without a losing season in that period. The franchise has since set numerous notable records, including most wins in a ten-year period (126, in 2003–2012), an undefeated 16-game regular season in 2007, the longest winning streak consisting of regular season and playoff games in NFL history (a 21-game streak from October 2003 to October 2004), and the most consecutive division titles won by a team in NFL history (won eight straight division titles from 2009 to 2016). The team owns the record for most Super Bowls reached (seven) and won (five) by a head coach-quarterback tandem, as well as being the first tandem to win the Super Bowl 13 years after the first. – Source: Wikipedia.
CU Blog - Culture Eats Strategy For Breakfast - Photo 1

The purpose of this commentary is the focus on culture. This definition of culture refers to community ethos; this is defined in the book Go Lean … Caribbean as …

… the fundamental character or spirit of a culture [group or community], the underlying sentiment that informs the beliefs, customs, or practices of a group or society; the dominant assumptions of a people or period.

Culture allows “you” to overcome obstacles; endure the heavy-lifting of a turn-around; invest in future success based on promising talents; stay the course of a roadmap, rather than “giving up” and fleeing for the appearance of greener pastures elsewhere. Culture dictates devoting “blood, sweat and tears” to a community cause, to give a full measure of devotion. We can learn so much by examining organizations and communities of great accomplishments. The New England Patriots is one such model. See VIDEO here describing the culture of the New England Patriots:

VIDEO – Chris Long of New England Patriots on Team, Winning, Unselfish Culture – https://youtu.be/ne-YkmXMN4M

Published on Jan 3, 2017 – Chris Long discusses the New England Patriot’s TEAM Culture, Winning Attitude, & Unselfishness on the NFL Network’s Game Day Prime with former NFL Head Coach Steve Mariucci on 1/1/17.

The Go Lean book relates that there are good ethos and bad ethos – the good ethos can be considered “culture” while the bad ethos may be deemed “defects”. The Caribbean member-states are not known as great societies, despite having the greatest “address on the planet” in terms of terrain, fauna/flora, hospitality, festivities, food, rum and cigars; this is due to our deficient community ethos, our organizational culture. There are role models for us to consider:

“Culture eats strategy for breakfast,” is a famous quotation attributed to the late business management guru Peter Drucker, and I can’t think of a better example that proves this than Enterprise Rent-A-Car’s acquisition of National Car Rental and Alamo.

They have been recognized numerous times for their customer service by J.D. Power. Business Week recognized them as one of the top 25 customer service brands in the world. In addition to running a wildly successful business, they obviously know how to take care of their customers, which means their customers want to come back.

All that is impressive, but not nearly as impressive as how they proved these top customer service awards weren’t a fluke. All of the awards and accolades they continue to receive don’t happen by accident. They aren’t just lucky. Everything Enterprise does is very purposeful. It is their culture. – Forbes Magazine Columnist Shep Hyken’s Profile Story.

One mission of the Go Lean book is to foster good community ethos – good culture – for the Caribbean region. We have great talent in our region and yet still we do not win; our people “take their talents to South Beach / South New York / South Toronto / South London, etc.”. What is missing here? Culture.

The Caribbean has a lot of people who have excelled on the world stage in their chosen professions, only because they fled their Caribbean homes seeking better opportunities abroad. Consider:

The Go Lean book serves as a roadmap for the introduction and implementation of the Caribbean Union Trade Federation (CU) to elevate Caribbean society and culture. The CU has 3 prime directives:

  • Optimization of the economic engines in order to grow the regional economy to $800 Billion and create 2.2 million new jobs.
  • Establishment of a security apparatus to protect the resultant economic engines.
  • Improve Caribbean governance to support these engines.

From the outset of the book, in the opening Declaration of Interdependence, the Go Lean roadmap posits that a target for the CU’s empowerments should be the Caribbean youth. This is the best way to foster a new culture, focus on the next generation. Then the remainder of society will assimilate … the new values within a short time. See the focus on youth in the opening pages of the book (Page 3), with this sample quotation:

Our youth, the next generation, may not be inspired to participate in the future workings of their country; they may measure success only by their exodus from their Caribbean homeland.

Thusly, the Go Lean/CU roadmap dictates how to reach, engage, and solicit the youth market to foster the new required attitudes. These other pronouncements in the opening Declaration of Interdependence, bear a direct reference to this quest for changing culture; consider these on Pages 11 & 13:

xix. Whereas our legacy in recent times is one of societal abandonment, it is imperative that incentives and encouragement be put in place to first dissuade the human flight, and then entice and welcome the return of our Diaspora back to our shores…

xxi.  Whereas the preparation of our labor force can foster opportunities and dictate economic progress for current and future generations, the Federation must ensure that educational and job training opportunities are fully optimized for all residents of all member-states, with no partiality towards any gender or ethnic group. The Federation must recognize and facilitate excellence in many different fields of endeavor, including sciences, languages, arts, music and sports. This responsibility should be executed without incurring the risks of further human flight, as has been the past history.

The book provides some turn-by-turn instructions for soliciting the different generation groups (Baby Boomers, Generation X and the current Millennials) who are at the frontline of the current Caribbean battles, that of societal abandonment, of which the region is sorely losing; (see this portrayed in a previous blog-commentary). The Go Lean book asserts new community ethos, strategies, tactics, implementation and advocacies. The following list from the book applies:

Community Ethos – Economic Principle – Economic Systems Influence Choices & Incentives Page 21
Community Ethos – Economic Principle – Voluntary Trade Creates Wealth Page 21
Community Ethos – Economic Systems Influence Choices & Incentives Page 21
Community Ethos – People Respond to Incentives Page 21
Community Ethos – Consequences of Choices Lie in the Future Page 21
Community Ethos – Ways to Help Entrepreneurship Page 28
Community Ethos – Ways to Impact Turn-Around Page 33
Community Ethos – Ways to Manage Reconciliations Page 34
Community Ethos – Ways to Promote Happiness Page 36
Community Ethos – Ways to Impact the Greater Good Page 37
Community Ethos – Lean Operations Page 24
Community Ethos – Cooperatives Page 25
Community Ethos – Ways to Impact the Future Page 26
Community Ethos – Impact the Greater Good Page 37
Strategy – Strategy – Keep Young People At Home in the Region Page 51
Strategy – Agents of Change – Technology Page 57
Strategy – Agents of Change – Globalization Page 57
Tactical – Fostering a Technocracy Page 64
Tactical – Separation of Powers – Postal Union Page 78
Anecdote – Turning Around the CARICOM governance Page 92
Anecdote – “Lean” in Government Page 93
Implementation – Ways to Pay for Change Page 101
Implementation – Ways to Deliver Page 109
Implementation – Ways to Impact Social Media Page 111
Implementation – Reasons to Repatriate Page 118
Advocacy – Ways to Improve Governance Page 168
Advocacy – Ways to Better Manage the Social Contract Page 170
Advocacy – Ways to Impact Events Page 191
Advocacy – Ways to Promote Fairgrounds Page 192
Advocacy – Ways to Foster e-Commerce Page 198
Advocacy – Ways to Impact the Diaspora Page 217
Advocacy – Ways to Impact Youth Page 227
Advocacy – Ways to Impact Sports Page 229
Advocacy – Ways to Impact Urban Living – Sports Leagues Page 234

The Go Lean book is a great guidebook for developing agile institutions – a recipe for the CU technocracy.

The Caribbean can succeed in our efforts to improve our community ethos. Consider this sample of previous blog-commentaries that delve into aspects of forging a better “culture” in Caribbean communities:

http://www.goleancaribbean.com/blog/?p=10220 Waging a Successful War on the BAD ethos of Rent-seeking
http://www.goleancaribbean.com/blog/?p=10218 Waging a Successful War on the BAD ethos of Stupidity
http://www.goleancaribbean.com/blog/?p=10216 Waging a Successful War on the BAD ethos of Orthodoxy
http://www.goleancaribbean.com/blog/?p=9595 Vision and Values for a ‘New’ Caribbean
http://www.goleancaribbean.com/blog/?p=9428 Forging Change: Herd Mentality
http://www.goleancaribbean.com/blog/?p=8186 Respect for Minorities: ‘All for One’
http://www.goleancaribbean.com/blog/?p=7646 Going from ‘Good to Great’
http://www.goleancaribbean.com/blog/?p=7628 ‘A Change Is Gonna Come’
http://www.goleancaribbean.com/blog/?p=5695 Repenting, Forgiving and Reconciling the Past
http://www.goleancaribbean.com/blog/?p=3915 ‘Change the way you see the world; you change the world you see’
http://www.goleancaribbean.com/blog/?p=3780 Forging an Ethos of ‘Blood, Sweat and Tears’
http://www.goleancaribbean.com/blog/?p=623 ‘Only at the precipice, do they change’

The vision for a new Caribbean is one that has a culture that could “eat strategy – scheme or talent – for breakfast”.

While the focus of this commentary is on culture, a lot can be said for the Sports eco-system as well. The Go Lean/CU roadmap is NOT a sports promotion plan but it does present the important role for sports in the vision to make the Caribbean a better place to live, work and play. As an expression of this vision, the Go Lean book states (Page 81):

“… a mission of the CU is to forge industries and economic drivers around the individual and group activities of sports and culture”.

Now is the time for all of the Caribbean, the people and governing institutions, to lean-in for the empowerments described in the book Go Lean … Caribbean. The benefits are too alluring: dawn of a new economy and new opportunities to preserve Caribbean culture for future generations. 🙂

Download the book Go Lean … Caribbean – now!


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