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  • Writer's pictureAndrea Nicholas

Values and Work: Finding Alignment

Last week, I posted about the importance of aligning personal values and the work we do. 

If your personal values are completely in synch with your current work environment, feel free to keep scrolling. 

If however, the two don’t line up, please read on.

Sometimes the values incongruency is a matter of refreshing perspectives. Objectively re-examining the mission and leadership of your organization against your personal values leads to a discovery that there is more agreement than originally thought. In these situations, it is likely, after some contemplation, you will regain your appreciation and commitment. 

Other times – as in the case of 3 clients I’ve spoken with since last week’s post – the misalignment has reached a point where abiding is no longer feasible. Faith is lost in the mission of the firm or the integrity of its top leadership, or both, and change is necessary. It takes courage to exit a lucrative, powerful position,  but there are cases where it's unavoidable.

So, how do you know if you are in such a scenario?

Here are the steps I guide clients through:

1️.  Identify Core Values: Identify your most important values and what they mean to you personally and professionally. Be specific about what they are, how you define them, and ponder recent examples of them.

2️.  Self-Reflection: Reflect on these values and how they've manifested in your life and career so far. Which ones are a priority right now? Which ones should be that aren’t? Are some values temporarily suppressed because of short-term demands? How will you commit to reprioritizing them after this phase is over? 

3️.  Alignment Check: In the big picture, does your current role fit, leadership and organization fit with your values? If not, how long have you felt this way? Which factors – culture, people, vision, etc. – are misaligned? Can this be overcome? Do other opportunities align better with your principles and beliefs? For executives interviewing, have you evaluated the various opportunities you are entertaining against one another on the basis of your values? Which opportunity(ies) stand(s) out?

4️.  Integration: Integrate your values into your career strategy, whether in your current or future role. Revisit them when making key decisions and analyze how best to align your chosen direction with them (don't allow yourself to be the reason for the misalignment - it happens!). If changing roles, speak about and demonstrate your values in your first 100 days to reveal to your new environment who you are as a leader and what matters to you. Remember, you set the tone. 

Your values are the core of who you are and serve as the foundation of your professional journey. When your career aligns with them, success becomes not just a destination but a purposeful, fulfilling, and impactful journey.

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