How to Know If Your Current Culture is a Fit
Things Started Out with a Great Company Culture Fit
When John started in his current position, as Chief Operating Officer, it seemed like a great company culture fit. He could see how his unique take on the company’s challenges and market opportunities tapped into his strengths and drive for results.
John opened four new offices in 18 months, achieving a new level of success for the company. He had direct access to Jane, the CEO, and understood her thinking. The top two or three strategic initiatives that she mapped out made sense to John. He was excited to go to work every day.
The company grew. As the company grew, another layer of management was added. John no longer had direct access to Jane and her evolving focus. The new Chief Finance Officer, Bill, clearly didn’t share John’s values. Bill saw people as disposable and soft skills as unnecessary.
John built an engaged and motivated team of leaders during a time when competition for talent in his industry was fierce. He was working with a complicated supply chain, thin margins, and a talent shortage. In spite of these challenges, John instilled a sense of the company mission in his team. He was able to align individual talents in a way that maximized productivity and helped the company increase margins.
All of that went out the window with the new layer of management. What went wrong?
What to Do When Things Change
It’s a fact that businesses change. Markets change. People change.
Often, change presents an opportunity. Sometimes, change can feel daunting and even scary. It’s all a matter of how you decide to approach the changes in your life.
John did a few smart things that could prove helpful to you. When his company culture fit started to change, he took action.
He took a step back and revisited his values and priorities. These priorities include, among other things:
- Belief in the product or service,
- Strategic impact on the company
- Team building and leadership role, and
- Compensation upside tied to company success
With the new CFO in place, the company dramatically shifted the product. John no longer felt excited about the direction of the company. He no longer had access to the CEO to understand her rationale for the new direction. As a result, he couldn’t measure his strategic impact any longer. His ability to hire and mentor future leaders was no longer valued.
All of these changes meant that John’s values and his work weren’t aligned. Keep in mind, that this doesn’t make the company or the CEO wrong. They were simply no longer a fit for John, his values, and priorities.
John now faced a difficult decision.
Re-calibrate Your Culture Fit Now
Think back to when you joined your current company. When you took your position, I hope you had a well-calibrated and defined list of values and priorities.
Your list might look something like this:
- Innovative & sustainable company strategy
- Strategic finance role
- Decisive, accessible CEO
- International presence
- Positive community impact
Some of the elements on your list will be values-driven. Other elements on your list will relate to your role and level in the company. Finally, some of the elements on your list will connect to the sustainability of the business. For instance, strategy, approach to the market, and ability to innovate could all be vital elements on your list of values and priorities.
Stop Settling For Less!
So many of my clients start the conversation with me by spelling out the things they can tolerate. It’s as though they have internalized a growing negative message about what’s possible. They have been gradually lowering the bar for so long, they don’t realize they are settling!
The internalized message goes something like this: Work can’t be aligned with my values, be meaningful, AND well-compensated.
I understand this belief. The point is, it’s a limiting belief! I understand how you might have arrived at this belief and how it influences your decision-making today.
I also understand the practical side of work and life. You need to earn a living. You have obligations.
One more thing: I understand that no company, no job, or person is perfect.
Nevertheless, opportunities do exist where your values and the work align. It is essential to clarify or refine your values and vision of success to answer the question of company culture fit.
Most of us weren’t taught that this is possible, much less provided with the tools and road map for solving the company culture fit puzzle.
If you’re interested in learning more, here is a video where I discuss how to align your values with your work:
If you are struggling with the next steps, let’s talk.