Morning Buzz: Workplace Culture

On Friday, February 8th, we arose early and drove to the Hilton Market Garden Inn on Market Street in Akron, where we attended the Greater Akron Chamber of Commerce’s monthly “Morning Buzz,” which consisted of networking and a presentation.

On this day, the speaker was Mr. Ned Parks, the owner of  Aegis 360 Consulting, which was founded in 2000 with a focus on leadership/supervisory training and conflict mediation.

The title of Mr. Parks’ presentation was: “Culture is Built on Values and Delivered by Leaders.” He defined culture as the unwritten rules and norms of a group of people. He went on to contend that the biggest challenge facing businesses is the creation of an appropriate culture for the enterprise.

An example of this might be the difference between whether the organization is fostering a negative culture of compliance or a positive culture of agreement. For example, if the employees are wearing safety goggles only because they have been told to, it is not a good thing. However, if they are wearing them because they have been given information that shows that the goggles are  protecting their eyes, then attitudes are upbeat and productivity is enhanced.

In order to achieve great results, Mr. Parks recommended that the organization’s leaders have frank, fearless conversations with the rest of the staff, regardless of status, in order to ensure that their personal values are in line with those of the organization. Feedback from the clientele is also vital: what was exemplary and what can be better.

From his bio, we learned that Mr. Parks once served in the U.S. armed services as a flight instructor, in which his assignment was to teach leadership and flight tactics to international military students. He told us that the experience was absolutely fascinating because he was exposed to people with many different cultures that taught him to broaden his horizons. For example, he recalled that some  students were initially offended by the well-intentioned “thumbs-up” sign but, as professionals, they ultimately worked it out.