Your culture will determine your success, not your strategy. That’s the words from presenter Jeremy Gutsche at the Aftermarket Conference for Executives taking place in Ottawa, Ontario today. Likewise, he says that it isn’t strategy that will make you win, it is culture. “Culture eats strategy for breakfast.” In a highly interactive session, Gutsche challenged the 120 attendees to identify a statement from a company touting its history of innovation, from word processing and grammar checkers, to self correction . That company was Smith Corona, the typewriter manufacturer. Faced with the entry of the computer age in the 1980s, they stayed a typewriter company. They made a lot of rational decisions. . “In 1989 they were a $500 million a year company. Did they need to get into computers?” With the company being a B2B company they provided their customer with better versions of what their customers–banks and businesses–were already buying from them. Their decisions were affected by their situation–they had seen a competitor get into computing too big and too fast and go broke– and their culture. “They were focused on being the best typewriter company in the world; if they had focused on the fact that what they did was help people record their thought, they would have had to get into computing.” In case you don’t know, Smith Corona went bankrupt in 1995. He says that companies are good and things, and so when they try new things for the first time it seems like a failure. And then they give up on the new initiatives. “The danger of being good is that it keeps you on the hill, and stops you from seeing those new hills. The young guns are hungry for new things because they don’t have a hill to stand on.” The BBC made the change that allowed projects that weren’t approved through normal channels cold qualify for “gambling fund” money. One such project was the show “The Office” which has gone on to become the BBC’s most successful show, and has spawned the spinoff “The Office” in the North America.