Culture, sometimes called corporate culture, suggests the environment of predominating attitudes and behavior that characterize the functioning of a group or organization. We are not speaking of ethnic or national cultures, but of business and organizational cultures that exist within companies and organizations. Successful planning of any kind must encourage the involvement and “ownership” of the plan by all who have a stake in it.

In other words, participation in the plan by various stakeholders requires that the plan and those who propose it do not violate the culture in which the plan must operate. Even more, the plan and those who propose it must be perceived as sharing—if not actually sharing—the basic tenets of that culture. For instance, Wall Street slickers will not fare well in an effort to develop and deliver a plan to a back woods farm. Nor will the back woods farmers fare well on Wall Street. The cultures are too different. The culture of NASA will be different than the culture of SEARS.

Consequently, strategic planning must respect and nourish the culture in which it operates. Cultural changes can happen, but they must unfold carefully and slowly. Wide cultural experience and the ability to bond with diverse people across the cultural board is required for the strategic plan facilitator.

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