Charles Everett, Lehigh Valley International Airport, African American Business Leaders Council Chair
In a recent book, People First Leadership by Eduardo Braun, the impact of culture and emotion on organizational performance is explored. According to Braun, there are five key roles of leadership. They are to inspire a vision, to be all about people, to communicate, to make decisions, and to create and manage culture.
Culture has numerous definitions. According to Webster, culture is the integrated pattern of human knowledge, belief, and behavior that depends upon the capacity for learning and transmitting knowledge to succeeding generations. In organizations, culture is a system of shared assumptions, values, and beliefs, which governs actions. These shared values have a strong influence on the people in the organization and dictate how they dress, act, and perform their jobs. Every organization develops and maintains a unique culture, which provides guidelines and boundaries for the behavior of the members of the organization. Culture governs the ways in which the organization conducts its business, shares information, treats employees, serves customers, and even interacts with the broader community.
It is easy for those who lead organizations to be consumed by elements of business strategy, like operations, marketing, and finance, while failing to invest the necessary amount of time and energy in the underlying culture of the organization. One could argue that it is the culture that provides a solid foundation for operational results.
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