Wednesday, October 08, 2008

Your Values as Your Guide

The paper screams today as another day, another fall in GCC stock markets. And when is the haemorrhaging of global stock markets going to end?


Well, what are your values?

Latest Rolls-Royce model unveiled in Abu Dhabi valued Dh2.6m

Let your values be your guide

Your values are about your worth. They are things that you hold dear, your guiding principles and beliefs; principles that you are committed to and live your life by, and you feel unhappy and dissatisfied when they are compromised.
Your values may remain the same throughout your life and some may change with maturity, experience or circumstances. At work, it is essential to understand your values, because they are the basis of your motivation.
Your career is a journey and there are three vital elements involved in that journey - interests, abilities, and values.

Your interests tell you what direction to pursue; your abilities indicate how long it will take to reach your ultimate goal, and your values dictate whether or not the journey is worth taking in the first place.
If, consciously or unconsciously, your values are telling you that a particular direction is not the right one, you're unlikely to make a success of that journey!
Values, unlike ethics, do not have to be seen by society as "right" or "just" or "responsible" and so on ... they are simply what is right for you. So, one of your important values might be "a short journey to work", which has no moral implications whatever.
The easiest way is to understand what is important to you. Adopt a structured approach. Make a list. Create a scorecard. List your must haves, high wants, wants, don't minds and don't want.
Now, check your values against what you are facing currently. Think about your list of wants and don't want against your present job. Are your most important requirements being met?

If not, is there anything you can do to change the situation? Who might be able to help you - your boss, line manager, mentor, HR department? Perhaps you could apply for a different role within the organisation and work flexi-time to make it easier to fit round family commitments; perhaps you could move nearer to work to cut down on commuting, or spend more time socialising with colleagues to build up friendships.
All of these are potential options, depending on your values. Many of these values are fairly practical, and even small adjustments in your working conditions could make the difference between them being met or not.

It's also important to recognise when you can't change things. Sometimes, however hard you try to alter things, you have to face the fact that the differences between your own values and those of your employer are irreconcilable. No matter what the clash is based on, a lack of congruence with the corporate culture will destroy your attitude at work.
Whatever happens, do not ignore your inner voice. Many of us are brought up to be good, responsible citizens. We will feel guilty if we cause disruption, and we tend to blame ourselves if we're not happy; "I shouldn't make a fuss" or "I'm being silly" and so on.
However, if you feel restless at work, and want to make the right decision, it is really important to put yourself and your own priorities first. After all, if you don't make sure that your values are being satisfied, you will not produce anything inspiring in terms of your performance and that is not in your employer's best interest either!

By Sanjiv Anand or and Rajesh Iyer of Cedar Management Consulting International.