Lecturer: ‘Gravity’ is key to keeping organizations afloat

Anna Masters

Barry Salzberg spoke to students in the auditorium yesterday night as part of the Charles J. Pilliod Lecture Series.

Caitlin Prarat | Daily Kent Stater

Credit: Ron Soltys

Trust is the “gravity” that keeps organizations in one piece, according to a managing partner of accounting firm Deloitte & Touche USA who spoke to a full auditorium last night.

Barry Salzberg spoke on the topic of “Gravity in a Weightless World” as part of Kent State’s Charles J. Pilliod lecture series.

Salzberg covered four forms of organizational “gravity:” leadership gravity, ethical gravity, generational gravity and personal gravity. He started his speech by telling the audience that everyone does matter, even if you are straight out of school and working for a large organization.

“If anything today, in a highly networked world, your power is magnified,” Salzberg said. “In our connected world, a small, single act can trigger large and far-reaching disturbances in an organization, even tidal waves.”

The first type of organizational gravity, Salzberg said, is leadership gravity. He said it starts at the top and leaders set the tone, but depends on leadership at all levels.

Ethical gravity was the second form of organizational gravity.

“Ethics live in perpetual, real-world translation, from the school room to the workplace,” Salzberg said. “And each of us needs to be a translator.”

He said a new challenge is how to cultivate generational gravity so the four generations will work together. He told the audience that Generation Y, those born between 1979 and 1994, is a challenge to leaders because the generation enters the workforce with new attitudes and expectations. Generation Y also challenges leaders to develop new approaches and requires organizations to manage differently.

“It was a good opportunity to have such a powerful executive on campus to teach us about his experience in accounting,” said junior accounting major Melissa Gibbons.

Salzberg said to never underestimate the power and influence of your personal gravity. He said whatever generation people belong to and whatever their personal style, they need to cultivate a sense of their own personal gravity.

“It was really interesting to hear about his real life experience and it will benefit all the students looking for internships and jobs in the future,” said junior accounting major Lauren Dunbar.

Jessica Cordier, junior art history major, said the best thing she got out of the lecture was understanding the need to communicate, to have motivational skills and to trust and earn trust.

Salzberg added that what really matters in the end, what outlasts money or success, is trust.

“In a fast, loose, and ever more weightless world, we need gravity to bring us down to earth,” he said. “We need to give our full share and pull our fair weight. And, always, to stand for what is fair and right.”

Contact College of Business Administration reporter Anna Masters at [email protected].