As the caffeine kicked in from the second (or was it the third) Latté, Cheryl shared her musings about the meaning of her life. Was she nothing more than cannon fodder for commerce and industry or was there something more she should expect from life?
As she shared her recent good news, in the past there had been several big issues firm in her mind:
a) Was life nothing more than eat, work, sleep and die?;
b) Is my life nothing more than the ‘play thing’ of business!; or
c) Am I expected to be a corporate chameleon?
Much is written about community values and corporate/community engagement based on those values, but relatively little of substance is written about the alignment of employee and corporate values in business.
We read about setting base values that drive business activity, such as:
a) Conducting business with integrity;
b) Acting in an ethical manner in all we do;
c) Treating all stakeholders with dignity and respect;
d) Striving for excellence in all we do;
e) Embracing continuous improvement through the learning process;
f) Allowing customers to define quality; and
g) Delivering what we promised – when we promised.
Cheryl often asked herself where in this values ‘hit list’ “…do my personal values and personal dignity sit in all this, particularly when the customer is screaming in my face about long-overdue deliveries?”
And, where does it say anything about nurturing my aspirations?
“You’ve got to be a team player to survive around here” Cheryl’s manager told her when she was recently overlooked for a promotion!
To add insult to injury Jemma (the external recruitment consultant) added in the feedback session: “We help companies make sure they have the right people in the right jobs at the right time, and that every person on the team is performing to their full potential. Like your manager, we believe you have a future here, but not just yet, so we have recommended you attend our leadership development program”.
Team Player, hell if I was anymore of a team player, I would be the damn puck!
The “eat, sleep, work and die” mantra obviously had festered in Cheryl’s mind.
More irritatingly to Cheryl was that her performance reviews excelled in comparison to those of the successful candidate.
After a decade with this company, maybe it’s time to move on was the first thing that came to her mind. But what perplexed her most was: “How did her values and aspirations differ from those of the successful candidate and what the company held dear”?
She had worked at doing her job well, had few enemies and generally was successful at her job.
Clearly someone held a different set of values in the promotion selection process.
So, where was the gap between my values profile and the successful candidate? And, how were they measured and matched against the prescribed profile?
Cheryl described the agony about ‘staying-going’ that went through her mind over the past months. Then she added: what comes around goes around!
Several months had gone by and she was still contemplating moving on, when she received a call from a recruitment consultant who stated that a fellow recruitment friend (Jemma??) thought Cheryl might be contemplating a move and would she be interested in a higher level opportunity. As Cheryl stated: nothing ventured, nothing gained!
Cheryl went on to add: When taking up the position as GM Operations at the new company, she asked her immediate superior (Company Director, Member of the Board) what were the values he held dear and those he saw in Cheryl that influenced his decision to appoint her.
According to Cheryl, he stated that in regards to her, he was impressed with her knowledge about Operations, but more importantly, her “passion for doing the best job she can and her willingness to say what needs to be said about improving things around here!”
She wondered how these values were measured – but did not pursue this with the Director.
Later, Cheryl asked him if she should attend a leadership program, to which he responded “you’ll be fine, don’t worry about it”.
As I taxied back to my office, I reflected on the musings Cheryl shared with me about this recent drama and final ecstasy. The most obvious is that values clearly loom large in the HR recruitment, motivation, retention, and promotion decision-making process.
So, is there a set of core values that generally predict success in a job, what are they, and how do we measure them?
And, can they be developed in a person?
What do you think?
What about ethics?