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Great cultures are intentional. You have to make it a point of focus in your values, vision, mission and, importantly, in your strategy Paul Hudson

intentional. You have to make it a point of focus in your values, vision, mission and, importantly, in your strategy.”

Some things needed to stop. Were there some things that you needed to start?

it’s more than that – it’s how you work alongside each other, how you collaborate, how you celebrate, and what you tolerate. Collaborating, being surrounded by diverse teams and listening to the outside world to bring that learning inside, is critical to finding solutions that are effective and simple at the same time. If we want people to bring their best selves to work, they need to feel that they can do that, whether it’s diverse thinking, speaking up, offering an alternate opinion or a dissenting voice. We needed to unleash the energy of our talented associates, and enable them to focus on a few clear priorities so we could serve our mission. The culture needed to change.”

Culture and performance go hand in hand

Shutterstock.com / Novartis

Why is culture so important when you have a good strategy?

Dialogue Q2 2018

“I never saw the business and our culture as being separate. I believe that culture can be a unique differentiator and competitive advantage. How we do things is at the heart of what we achieve. It’s a culmination of a hundred thousand small choices that create a culture. As an organization, you’re going to have a culture whether you like it or not. So, you have to ask yourself the question: are you going to help shape it into something productive, fun and successful – or do you just let it be whatever it’s going to be. I believe that great cultures are

“Yes. For me, the two big pieces missing were a strong external orientation, and making things simple. External orientation is imperative because we need to understand the context for our decisions and actions, and get foresight into trends. We need to understand the dynamics of our markets. In practice, this means three things. The first is that our headquarters in Basel has to serve the needs of our country operations, and not the other way around. Local markets have different rules, regulations and contexts, and we need to empower our country-based associates to respond to these. Second, we need to focus on competitor activity and market share. And third, we need to move to an outside-in approach. This means moving from a product/science focus to a patient/physician focus.”

‘Simplification’ can mean many things. What does it mean to you? “Making things simple above all means prioritizing. In our desire to offer our best, we have often taken on too much. It’s always easy to add another item to the list, but we often defer dropping items, so the list just keeps getting longer. The hardest discipline is to prioritize and focus on a handful of strategic imperatives. It is hugely motivational for anyone to be able to see a link between what they do every day at work and how this contributes to the mission. The more activities we indulge in, the fuzzier this link becomes, to the point where work can become mundane and routine. The tighter our focus, the easier it becomes for everyone to see how they are contributing.”

The organization applied its historic strength in execution to move the culture journey forward Culture change has a bad reputation for being difficult to achieve and for taking a long time.

Dialogue Q2 2018  
Dialogue Q2 2018