13 Jan Does Your Company Match Your Values?
I want you to know that this article is not a judgement on what your values actually are. To be honest if your values don’t involve bringing harm to yourself or other people, I don’t really care. Your values don’t affect me. But they do affect how fulfilled you feel at your job, by way of how closely they are aligned to that of your employer’s. So from that perspective, as a Career Coach, I always suggest you work at a company whose values match yours. You’ll just be happier that way, and in turn the world will be happier. Which is really the end result we’re all after, isn’t it?
The formula is quite simple, A + B = C. Where A = your personal values, B = your company’s and C = is that coveted value match that contributes to career fulfillment (I say contributes because there are a few other pieces you have to also factor in). But this isn’t the math you did in highschool. For this equation you’re going to have to do some serious reflection and investigative work for you to unearth your answers. Not to worry though, that’s what I’m here for. To guide you through it as simply as I can – even if math was never your strong suit. 😉
A: Your Personal Values
The importance of identifying your values then is quite straightforward; alignment means career fulfillment which means you’re a happier person which means a happier world. But let me also introduce another argument for values identification that I think is potentially more pertinent, misalignment. You know those times when a coworker does or says something to you and you just see red? You’re not an angry person but you instantly go from 0 to 100 and have an almost physical reaction to the situation. Well the body doesn’t lie. These are times when one of your values is being suppressed. Misalignment of values then can be a future of these frustrations and toxic upsets.
One of my favourite exercises for identifying your values is the peak experience. Find a quiet place, and take yourself back to a situation at work when you felt truly in sync with everything, taking in all the details of the moment. After a proper reflection begin journaling about what was special to you in that experience and what contributed to your feelings of contentment. You will start to see values emerging in your writing. Confirm these values with additional peak experiences and even the contrary exercise, the suppressive experience (this is when you reflect on a situation of misalignment).
Your Company’s Values
I’m going to throw you for a loop here. Because I’m sure a lot of people will look to the externally printed ‘values’ many companies seem to paste on their websites. This my friends is part of a company’s brand. It is the image they are trying to present to the public and build their reputation around. It does not necessarily mean that these are the values they hold internally as an organization. It might, but that is what you have to figure out.
Now is the time to take stock of the environment you operate in. What does your organization tolerate? If it’s dishonest behaviour from employees and bullying from leadership I hope to heck they do not have an external value around integrity and respect. And in a time when every organization in the world seems to be making public statements and commitments around Anti-Black racism, their words do not hold any water if their management teams continue to show the lack of diversity they are purporting to combat. Hopefully you see where I am going with this. It’s not about what they say. Pay close attention to what they do, and don’t do. Because a company’s actions will speak much louder than any words they put on a website.
The Value Match
Once you have your ‘A’ and ‘B’ it’s time to check if there is alignment between your values and that of your company’s. Most likely you won’t find an exact match and will have to settle for a fit that you feel comfortable with. That is ok. Your values should not control your actions, rather you are in control of them and must dictate how you apply them. Think of values as a dial on a stove where you choose the temperature. However, if you find that there are certain areas where you values do not match whatsoever, certain pieces you just cannot negotiate on (and that is completely fair), it’s time for some serious introspection. I’m going to stop short of telling you what to do here, because I feel that we are at a significant enough point where I am not comfortable giving out unsolicited advice. But I can tell you that the chances of you finding any kind of real happiness in that environment are slim to none. At the very least if you have to stick it out there (as some people may very well have to), readjust your expectations. You can’t expect things from people that are not able to give it to you.
I do hope though that you were able to find a value match for yourself. It’s so necessary to find that career fulfillment and happiness in the work that we do. And that’s all we want isn’t it? To be happy, and feel engaged and excited and even special? Especially now, that we are contributing to the world in some small way and making it a better place for all. Unearth your values and those of the people around you. That is the first step. And look for places in your life where you can find your matches. The world will thank you for it.