When Organisational Values Challenge Your Own

By Professor Ben Laker

Leading culture is one of the most difficult of executive challenges because it comprises interlocking sets of values and assumptions that sometimes differ from our own. This is incredibly difficult when external pressures such as the coronavirus crisis are affecting our emotional resilience and outlook.

Teams need a fusion and myriad of collaboration in which people with differing backgrounds, perspectives, experiences, and orientations work together to develop solutions for the problems they face.

Therefore, when talent joins an organization, should they adopt the resident values and ‘align’ to the consensus? Or should they remain loyal to their own values?

Is there even scope to ‘re brand’? Many assume this requirement to scope is a rare occurrence, given that recruitment processes have traditionally favoured the attraction of talent demonstrating a shared sense of vision, thus making the idea of ‘re branding’ rare. And while it’s true that recruiting officers may desire to employ those matching their existing values, it’s not always the case.

The importance of cognitive diversity

The importance of cognitive diversity is imperative in any forward thinking organization – a fusion and myriad of collaboration in which people with differing backgrounds, perspectives, experiences, and orientations work together to develop solutions for the problems they face.

To obtain high-performance, especially in the face of complex tasks, diverse teams are essential. So recruiting others in your image is not always the best strategy – hence it’s good to bring new talent into an organization to challenge the status quo. Thus, if every newcomer doesn’t provoke existing organizational values, you’re hiring strategy is too complacent.

But the challenge is to use this provocation to refine organizational values, rather than destroy them – many organizations are seemingly unable to balance this thesis antithesis.

But when fused in union, a healthy tension can emerge between new entrants into a firm, and the established hires. For new talent brings innovation, fresh perspectives, critical questioning, and debate of alternative direction. Those already embedded in the firm can respond to this challenge by acknowledging the benefits of existing organization alignment and domain specificity, but also recognize when refinement is needed – and so introducing domain generality.

Therefore, if you’re joining an organization which possesses values that jar your own, remember that at first, it’s quite normal to feel a sense of disconnect – you’re about to enter a state of provocation in which you’re new perspectives, delivered through critical questioning can help the organization to refine its own values – this is healthy, though some find it difficult – and around 20 percent quit.

So, to help you through this period of refinement, consider these four points:

1. Decide what makes your heart sing, what you are most passionate about, what gets you out of a morning and keeps you working late at night. This defines your purpose – hold onto your purpose always – and never, ever erode it.

2. Choose a personal brand you want people to use when describing your talents to others. Jeff Bezos believes your brand is what others say about you when you’re not in the room.

3. Don’t always assume you have it right, and the organisation is outdated, and in need of refreshing. Perhaps it’s vice versa! Immerse yourself within the organization – study, educate yourself, acquire new knowledge and skills. Revel in that curiosity; show that you respect yourself, and respect from peers will follow.

4. Identify an inspirational role model. If they’re in your personal network, arrange to meet, and ask how they overcome fear and limiting beliefs. If they’re outside your personal network, follow their blogs, articles and news feeds.

One Comment Add yours

  1. Erica Banfield Moore says:

    Very interesting read and quite timely. We must be open-minded and willing to embrace new perspectives. This engenders and fosters positive change.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s