Aaron Schmookler

Aaron Schmookler
Aaron Schmookler, Company Culture Engineer

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Aaron Schmookler works with business leaders who believe that their people are their greatest asset. As a “Company Culture Engineer,” he supports them to build structures, habits, and mindsets that support an enduring high-performance culture so their profits and their people thrive.

While his career appears anything but linear — ranging from outdoor leadership to corporate contributor to theatre director and founder to teacher of theater and business communication — one thread ties everything together. For over 20 years, Aaron has been striving to help people find their own intrinsic motivation, their capacity to collaborate, and the fulfillment that comes from harnessing the creative impulse in us all to serve others.

In 2014 Aaron and business partner, Adam Utley, co-founded The Yes Works and developed the Adeptability Model of collaboration and leadership training and the Adeptable Culture Audit.

Aaron and The Yes Works serve clients across the country and across industries including Microsoft, MOD Pizza, DiscoverOrg, Burkhart Dental Supply, SOG Knives, 9th Gear, and Textainer to make work good for people and people good for work.

“Every team has genius at work.  Only the best encourage and inspire the genius to emerge.”

Speaking Topics

Leaders and event planners call on Aaron for interactive presentations for groups of all sizes on practical topics of leadership, management, communication, and culture building. What follows are a few of the workshop presentations he’s been asked to provide over and over again.

Inspire Accountability Throughout Your Org: Modeling Is Not Enough

    1. What many leaders do to inadvertently sabotage accountability culture, and how to shift it.
    2. The CEO's responsibility for accountability at the front lines
    3. The power of breaking accountability into 4 constituent parts
    4. "I'm going to take this straight to my leadership team." CEO The Part Works

Knitting Your Team Together: Strong Management and Cohesive Teams -- Remote, Hybrid, or On-Site

    1. Three tools to keep busy people connected and cohesive
    2. A critical and actionable distinction between close management and micro-management
    3. Breaking some "conventional wisdom" for better remote meetings
    4. "This has been important and very useful for making our communication better." CEO Smile Software

Innovate or Die

"Innovate or die," is not hyperbole. It's fact. Ask Kodak. Ask Toys R Us. Or your local cab company.

The pace of change has never been greater, and it's not enough to keep up. To survive and thrive in business, we've got to be setting the pace, driving the change, ahead of the curve.

But innovating isn't something we can simply DO. It's something that happens inevitably when the conditions are right. And setting the right conditions for innovation is easier said than done. It's simple, not complicated. And hard, not easy.

And unfortunately, many of the things we do to try to drive innovation actually inhibit it.

Participants will gain mission-critical insights into how to make innovative and problem-solving progress a matter of daily culture and activity.


How to:

    • Find opportunities for innovation
    • Leverage your team’s insight and creativity
    • Create innovation momentum
    • Eliminate innovation inhibitors
    • Build a culture of problem-solving and innovation

What Dementia Can Teach Us About Successfully Negotiating Our Relationships

 One simple principle can help you successfully negotiate your relationships with less struggle, more compassion, and even results that more closely match your wishes.

Have you ever found that when someone in your life resists doing what you ask them to do, that your internal story is, “They’re not reasonable,”?

This is common – universal, even. And then our tendency is so often to try to wrestle the other person into reason. “If I can only get them to see reason… To BE reasonable.”

That was my habit until I welcomed my father-in-law-with-dementia into my home where he lived with my family for years. He was definitively unreasonable, and I saw the lack of reason in trying to reason with him. On day 1, I found that wouldn’t work.

His dementia taught me the nitty-gritty, granular place that true compassion lives. It taught me to navigate with respect for reality as he saw it. And it taught me to creatively aikido his position, leaving him happier than when we began doing what I wanted him to do – always with a twist that left me chuckling.

Let’s explore the compassionate aikido that can help you get more of what you want, with more harmony in your relationships, and less struggle in how you get there – so there’s more love and compassion in your life.

This works at work as well as it works at home, so this stuff… Everyone needs.

The Accountability Gap: Tolerating the Intolerable

In every organization in every corner of the world, there is an accountability gap. And leaders are frustrated.

Are younger generations in the workplace entitled?

Do they fail to understand responsibility?

Does the generation gap really have anything to do with it?

And/or are leaders themselves creating the gap?

People first leaders are struggling to balance the value they place on being humane and compassionate against the need of the org for people to perform with accountability.

It's time to stop trying to balance one against the other. The truth is, it’s a marriage. Accountability works when we understand that it’s not mutually exclusive with compassion.

Learn how you can cultivate a people-first culture of accountability by changing the way you frame the problem, how you communicate with your team, and what you do when gaps emerge.

Speaking Topics

  • Inspire Accountability Throughout Your Org: Modeling Is Not Enough
  • Knitting Your Team Together: Strong Management and Cohesive Teams — Remote, Hybrid, or On-Site
  • Innovate or Die
  • What Dementia Can Teach Us About Successfully Negotiating Our Relationships
  • The Accountability Gap: Tolerating the Intolerable