What Are You Upset About? Values-Driven Organizations

stresssmThis issue came up during a confidence coaching session. Several employees went to their supervisor to report a problem with another employee (Jim). It seems he had been rude to a client (as reported by the client) AND he forgot to do a very important piece of his job – so important that the consequences could be lethal. Fortunately the only consequence in this case is Jim’s on the hot seat. Exactly what upset the employees?

Obviously we have best-practices violations and the accompanying risks. But, we also have values violations. The mission of the organization is to serve with patience, respect, and great skill. People work for this organization because they embrace the same values – caring, giving, & serving, as well as pride in the work, professionalism, and respect. Jim’s behavior violated those values. His colleagues were doubly miffed – both procedures and values were trounced. If the manager looks at what’s presented – the procedural error – but misses the underlying issue –values violations – then only half of the problem is addressed.

If this employee does not embrace the mission and values of the organization, no admonition is going to fix the problem. There is a bad match. However, if the employee is having a hard time about other things, and has the core values of the organization, then we can do whatever’s necessary to keep everyone safe. It’s not always about procedures. Here are a few questions to ask yourself the next time you have to handle a conflict:

What are the values of your organization? Much like a Brand, every company, every family, every institution, has a set of values that drive their mission and behavior.