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Brain circuits

A one-question quiz that could reveal your readiness to design a strategy

Published 10 February 2022 in Brain circuits • 2 min read

The puzzle you need to solve to design your organization’s strategy and structure contains many pieces. But, like any puzzle, if you leave out a key piece there will be a glaring hole. So it pays to take the time and run checks to make sure you have all the pieces in place – that’s where today’s question comes into play.

The quiz:

How do you define culture within your organization?

This seemingly innocuous question trips up a lot of people. Culture plays a critical role in how organizations perform. You need to be able to define what your culture is, if you wish to develop good approaches to analyzing, preserving, and transforming your company.

Why you need to check this regularly

Culture is not static. With the rise of new technologies disrupting sectors and businesses, companies must adapt their culture to become more flexible and curious. For many organizations, the disruptions of the pandemic have taken a hard toll on their culture. As employees go home to work and don’t return to the office, it changes the dynamic drastically. Have you taken account of how this has changed within your team and the broader organization as a whole?

A clear understanding of culture will help managers onboard new people and sustain those working in hybrid conditions. Finally, with rising workplace stress and a growing focus on how organizations protect their employees’ mental health, having a strong culture is vital to attract and retain staff.


Michael Watkins - IMD Professor

Michael D. Watkins

Professor of Leadership and Organizational Change at IMD

Michael D Watkins is author of The First 90 Days, Master Your Next Move, Predictable Surprises, and 11 other books on leadership and negotiation. A Thinkers 50-ranked management influencer and recognized expert in his field, his work features in HBR Guides and HBR’s 10 Must Reads on leadership, teams, strategic initiatives, and new managers. He taught at Harvard, where he gained his PhD in decision sciences, and INSEAD before joining IMD, where he directs The First 90 Days and Transition to Business Leadership programs.


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