How to start changing an unhealthy work environment | Glenn D. Rolfsen | TEDxOslo
How to Deal With Working for an Organization With Changing Values
It's a bit of a myth that any type of work is a "perfect fit" because there will always be something in a workplace that doesn't align precisely with all of our values and beliefs. However, many people seek jobs with organizations that align in most ways or in a majority of ways with the values that they hold as individuals. And sometimes the organization changes due to takeovers, financial constraints, new management and other reasons. When this happens, you might feel left out, disappointed or even betrayed that the organization isn't the same one you began with. What to do? Read on for some ideas.
Consider that even without dramatic change, a good business is always progressing incrementally, improving the way that it works, improving the delivery of services, improving the types of products it sells, etc.Without such incremental progress and refinement of values over time, an organization risks stagnating. As such, be prepared for some change as a constant, including small realignments of values and approaches.
Realize that we all change, including the workplace.Would you want to be pigeonholed into one way of being over the decades? Or would you rather that people acknowledged the growth and changes that have constituted your self over time? Most people realize that evolution of both organizations and individuals is a healthy process provided it is an improvement in most respects.
Consider whether you're now feeling out of your comfort zone.Has the organization's values, ethics and future orientation changed so much that you feel out of your comfort zone and unable to adjust to the changes? It's important to give it some time before assuming that the changes aren't going to work for you. However, if after several months of trying to adjust to the new way of thinking and doing things, you still feel adrift and disconnected, it's possible that the fit really is now an imperfect one.
- If the difference between your values and those of the organization is too serious to overcome for you, it's time to leave.
- If it's merely about the discomfort of change and a new emphasis on how to do things and how to approach old methods, then give it time. Avoid challenging people using your discomfort; get on with your work and speak to someone who is able to listen to your concerns, such as a family member or a therapist. The distance from the organization will make them sympathetic, neutral and less-entangled listeners.
Consider whether you're so tied up in your own sense of what is right that you have become rigid and unable to see when change is good.If you have been used to implementing a lot of the actions and telling the organization how things are, and this is suddenly removed from you, it can be deflating and disorienting. However, it can also be your next best challenge to grow and to start realigning yourself with the new values and the new thinking. Are you up for that?
Spend time learning about the changing values.Sometimes the fear of what the values mean causes employees and managers to focus more on the perceived (and not necessarily yet realized) consequences and less on the substance of changing values. Instead of worrying, do your research and learn as much as you can about what seems to be the new direction of your organization. Apply your intelligence, your analysis and your future thinking to the new set of rules, guidelines, values and ideas and find ways that you can contribute to what's current. Be supportive and keep your criticism to yourself.
Get inter-generational.Talk to people in generations above or below your own to see how they're embracing the changing values. They may have useful perspectives that you can learn from.
- Holding on to old values can be career limiting. There is a difference between fundamental principles and simply old habits.
- Changing values can be complex because they reflect general changes in thinking and not just within the organization. Be sure to stay current with news within your field or industry as well as keeping informed through social media and general media about hot topics and social ideas.
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