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Do your Work Values match your Life Values?

My nephew just returned from a mission trip to Fiji. Each night they had a mandatory town hall meeting with the village. One night his girlfriend fell ill. The chief told him to stay with his girlfriend that night, and he was not allowed to attend the town hall. It struck me how aligned the values of the village were with the values of the individuals. How often are our life values different than those of our community or workplace?

When your child is sick. Taking a simple example like the one above, think about what happens when your child is sick. Usually, people feel stressed and guilty. Guilty for not being able to focus on their child and guilty for not being able to focus on their commitments at work. The values we hold with our family are in direct conflict with the values we hold at work.

Do unto others. Many religions have something similar to the ‘golden rule’; “Do unto others as you’d have done to you.” Yet what I see in many corporate cultures doesn’t reflect this belief. I often feel that people check their human kindness at the door when they come to work. This is most evident in the siloization of organizations. When people talk about other groups as ‘the others’, making assumptions about what “they think”, relationships start to break down.

When you don’t believe in your company’s product or service. I recently heard a story about someone turning down a job with a large confectionary company. It was a great job but they just didn't want to promote junk food to the world. I was impressed by their alignment with their values.

I hear a lot of people dismayed about the state of the world today. And then I see those same people spending every day promoting the very thing they hate. You might even believe in the core product, but spend your time trying to figure out ways to ‘monetize’ additional features. The whole concept of “monetizing” means that you are focusing on getting people to part with their money. For many people, this doesn't align with their values.

How have you noticed your values out of sync with your workplace? Let us know!

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