Carl Michel: Culture and Strategy

Carl Michel Discusses How Culture Impacts on Competitive Edge:

I began my career at McKinsey Management Consulting where I spend 9 years working mostly in the consumer and retail sectors, and then transitioned on into the travel sector where I ran the German operation for British Airways as Commercial Director, then onto Chief Executive of Opodo and Holiday Breaks Plc. I am now Executive Chairman of the largest hostel chain in Europe, Generator Hostels.

Culture is like the DNA of an organisation. It is sometimes rather hard to grasp, but when you have got it, it makes everything work brilliantly well. I think that one of the big challenges for organisations today is to find the right culture and to nurture it and that has proven to be almost the hardest strategic challenge of this age.

The culture of an organisation absolutely needs to be aligned with strategic intent. The two do go hand-in-hand. You cannot develop the culture without a strategy for change, but the strategy is going to fail without the right culture. So you need that symbiotic relationship and you need to nurture it continuously. Strategy can be replicated, culture cannot, and that is why culture gives leading companies the competitive advantage going forward.


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