A while back I was talking to a friend who was thinking about making a career change.
Always an interesting time, right?
We’ve all been there. It’s tough. Fear, uncertainty, doubt. Grass is greener; or is it?
One of the things my friend was discussing was a sense that, in their then-current role, they didn’t feel as empowered and successful as in prior roles. They were questioning what had changed, had they lost something? Had they had their glory days and now had to consider a less successful future? Over the hill.
Confidence down, self-critique high, reading things into other people’s comments that perhaps weren’t there (or weren’t worth listening too :-)).
It struck me that the time was right for one of my favourite principals to come out.
See, I don’t believe that companies and other organisations have a right to dictate values to people. Our values come from our families, our friends, our upbringing, our community. They are how we behave; how we feel; how we perceive.
Organisations dictating Values? Trust. Honour. Integrity. Yeh. Yeh. Yeh.
Most organisations want to do the right thing, of course. After all, organisations are just people “organised” for a common purpose. But we all know it’s not quite that simple. Ego. Money. Opinions. Hierarchies. Policies. Scale. Pressure. They all get in the way of “values” first, “expediency” second.
So, too often values are written down but not lived.
And people can get disenfranchised by environments where talk doesn’t match walk; by other people. In organisations. Made up of, well, other people.
So…. my principle.
It’s not about what organisations say. It’s about what they do and how they make everyone feel. Staff. Customers. Partners. Commentators.
Some might call that culture.
And we all know that we actually “feel” better in a culture where our values align with the other people in our organisation and with the “talk” being aligned to the “walk”.
My friend was not over the hill. Far from it.
This was a person who I once called a “legend” for standing up and acting with profound courage and authenticity on a particular issue.
My friend was in an environment where they didn’t feel aligned, where their values were not aligned to their organisation.
It didn’t mean the end, it meant adapt or change. It’s like getting a terrible diagnosis, then being told that the doctor gave you someone else’s bad news. You are fine!
And it’s not unusual at all.
The trick is knowing what your values really are. And whether your environment is really misaligned to your values. You know, the ones that came from your family and upbringing.
To be or not to be.
Look for organisations that “feel” right. To you.