NEWS | June 7, 2021

Culture Standardization Workshop Ties In Best Practices, Lessons Learned

By Rebecca Coleman, Naval Safety Center Safety Promotions

A group of Navy and Marine Corps facilitators met recently to discuss best practices and lessons gleaned from culture workshops held across the Fleet.

The Naval Safety Center’s Risk Management/Expeditionary Warfare Directorate hosted the Cultural Standardization Workshop, May 19-20 bringing together type command (TYCOM) Culture Workshop (CW) leads and facilitators from across the Naval Enterprise.

The conference is typically held annually, but due to COVID-19 travel restrictions, last year’s gathering was canceled, said Ted Wirginis, Culture Workshop program manager. The conference enables CW representatives the opportunity to discuss each other’s processes and methods and what works best when conducting CW seminars across the Navy and Marine Corps communities.

The CW seminars are scheduled regularly or upon request from commanders to take the pulse of the Sailors and Marines regarding a myriad of issues, such as resources, manning, and communication.

The workshop’s agenda included discussions on best practices and lessons learned, what is derived from feedback from the CW seminars, the top issues seen, and any commonalities across the communities. For instance, some facilitators have seen a rise in discussions dealing with mental health, mainly since the COVID-19 pandemic first came on the scene.

The COVID pandemic has increased the sense of isolation and alienation and we hope the CW seminars can help capture that sense and provide feedback to the commander, noted one facilitator.

“The CW seminars are a proactive tool and enable commanders to fix things before they become a problem,” said Wirginis.

“Attending these workshops allows us, facilitators, the opportunity to understand each other’s best practices,” said Navy Capt. Dan Druckenmiller, submarine CW program facilitator. He added the CW leads and facilitators are all reservists and noted that sharing best practices is critical as often corporate knowledge is lost as people turn over duties and positions.

Discussions centered on determining the optimal timeframe for the sessions, coming into each session with an open mind, and finding those subject matter experts to help if needed. Lessons learned were also shared on writing the after-action reports and how they handled sensitive topics.

“The culture workshops are a great benefit to unit commanders to understand what can be done to influence their organizations,” said Rear Adm. F.R. “Lucky” Luchtman, Commander, Naval Safety Center. “Naval Safety Center’s end goal is to provide better products, be responsive, and be an active part of Fleet culture.”