When evaluating your alignment with a company’s values, it’s critical to be evidence-based. Values, by definition, are our guiding principles or standards of behavior. They make up our internal compass that dictates what’s important in life and can’t be faked. If you’ve put in the work to get clear on where you stand, uncovering the evidence that proves or disproves the alignment of a business’s values can be done with a few guiding pillars in mind.
Start with an internal assessment. Before you can determine whether a company aligns with your values, you need to get clear on your values. Write down all the principles that are most important to and aligned with your identity.
Then one by one, think through them. What does each represent for you? How is your behavior consistent with that value? If it’s not, what do you need to work on to get there? If you’re being honest with yourself, it shouldn’t be too challenging to narrow down the list of non-negotiables.
Part of living your values means not compromising in those areas when it’s easier to look the other way- whether that’s in your career, social circle, or generally in the name of convenience.
Say you’ve identified sustainability, for example, as a core value. If you later receive a job offer from a global oil and gas corporation, you might find yourself reconsidering how important that principle is to you.
Once you’re confident in where you stand, you can start to observe whether your current or prospective company’s values are aligned with your own. There are three layers for uncovering the evidence.
What are people saying?
First, the obvious. What is the company communicating on their website, in their messaging, on their social platforms and when leaders speak in public? Then, how do they talk about the company and its short- and long-term goals during your job interview? If you’ve already accepted the position, how do they motivate teams at internal company events?
Notice how the business leaders communicate. Are they repeating the same words and phrases constantly, feeling more like corporate statements than core beliefs? Or are they communicating the same values in various contexts and wording but still coming back to the same deep-rooted message?
What are people doing?
How are business leaders and team members living by the values they preach? If you hear that outside-in perspective is core to their business, ask what steps they’re taking to get that perspective and how they act on the information they receive.
Find out what they are doing to prove their integrity and decide for yourself if their words and actions are consistent. This also applies to where business leaders are spending their own and the business’ money. What organizations are they supporting and how are they contributing to the industry as well as their communities?
What are people thinking and feeling?
It’s more difficult to uncover these unseen drivers. You can often pick up on feelings by observing the degree of consistency between words and actions, but this evidence will be more hypothesis-based than in the previous areas.
Talk to team members and find out how business leaders have handled challenging situations in the past. Who are the recognized role models within the company? How are they described by the people who observe them regularly?
Whether you’re considering joining a new company or already on-board and re-evaluating alignment, these are your pillars of observation. Never assume your values align without looking at the evidence.
For more info/questions about this topic or business transformation in general, please reach out to us at email@example.com. We’re always grateful to keep the conversation going!