A Tasty Meal of Strategy – The Triumph of Service Culture


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My new book The Zappos Experience is at the printer and should be in stores thanks to McGraw-Hill, as scheduled in October. During the time I worked with Zappos, I often heard the company’s CEO say “Culture eats strategy for lunch.” I always loved the moxie of that sentence but initially cast it into the category of “great inspirational CEO soundbites.”

What does that sentence really mean… forget the strategy and only foster your service culture? As my relationship with Zappos grew, I came to appreciate that Zappos has plenty of finely crafted strategies. Those strategy, however, are guided by a richly developed culture of service values. While the book, dives into the details, suffice it today it is culture that sets the boundaries for strategy and anchors that strategy to a sustainable for core. In the end, culture may eat strategy for breakfast, lunch, and dinner!

Republished with author's permission from original post.

Joseph Michelli, Ph.D.
Joseph Michelli, Ph.D., an organizational consultant and the chief experience officer of The Michelli Experience, authored The New Gold Standard: 5 Leadership Principles for Creating a Legendary Customer Experience Courtesy of The Ritz-Carlton Hotel Company and the best-selling The Starbucks Experience: 5 Principles for Turning Ordinary Into Extraordinary.


  1. Joseph,

    You have it right. Culture guides and underlies strategy. Poor culture–strategy and execution becomes real hard. Good culture–Strategy should be aligned with it and it becomes easy to define, communicate and ultimately execute.

    Good culture also defines how you hire. Poor culture–poorly performing unmotivated unengaged staff. Good culture–motivated, engaged staff who help develop great strategy.

    Culture is the foundation of it all.

    Michael Synk


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