Values under pressure: Is there a way to keep your job without compromising your values? by Roz Usheroff
“Personal Values as well as Corporate Values are critical . . . how many people have personal mission statements such as Merlin Olsen to serve as a reference point and guide during periods of crisis or as you called it pressure. Remember Charlie Sheen’s Wall Street character, and his moment of truth (or departure from truth) when he was faced with Gekko’s ultimatum to do that which he knew was wrong or walk away, and he chose to turn his back on who he really was with the word’s “okay Mr. Gekko, you got me.” We all do have a choice . . . we are not mere victims of circumstance. Here is the link to a post by Roz Usheroff that captures perfectly the essence of my position; Aligning Your Brand with Your Personal Values Equals True Success“
I have as of late been both honored and humbled by the increasing frequency in which I find my blog posts, articles and even my new book, the subject of discussion in the social media world.
One such example is the above referenced comment that was made by an individual in response to an article that appeared in LinkedIn titled “Bullied into cheating” by Bernard Marr.
The Marr article was certainly controversial as it touched on the subject of a hospital that “falsified official cancer care records to meet performance targets.” Besides “putting the lives of cancer patients at risk,” the bigger question posed by Marr was one of “imposing targets onto staff and bullying them into delivering them.” More specifically, are organizations establishing performance targets that inadvertently “drive unintended behaviors.”
While it is certainly easier to pass judgment on the hospital workers as an outsider looking in, I could not help but wonder what we might all do under similar circumstances when there is pressure from multiple sides to do that which we either know or suspect is wrong. My initial response, which is based on personal experience as well as the varied experiences of my many clients from around the world, is that when confronted with a moral dilemma it is better to stand-up for what you believe as opposed to compromising your values . . . even if it means losing your job. (I guess I just answered the question posed in the title of today’s post.)
I am not suggesting that such a decision is easy or rendered without pain. I have no doubt that there will be a difficult period through which you will have to navigate, especially if you lose your job.
This being said, I believe that the manner in which we handle a difficult situation as it is happening – including how we arrive at a plan of action – is as important as our eventual decision in terms of becoming a dissenting voice.
For those of you who follow this blog and/or have read my book, you will undoubtedly recall my many references to the adept manner in which Johnson & Johnson handled the Tylenol tampering crisis as opposed to the fashion in which Exxon mismanaged the Valdez oil spill in Alaska.
While both experienced a good deal of distress as each crisis occurred, the manner in which they responded to the challenge established their future outcome. In other words, and even though Johnson & Johnson saw their market share drop significantly in the short term, the fact that they stood their ground and remained true to the values that were established in their mission statement, ultimately led to their rebound to an even stronger market position than they had prior to the crisis.
Exxon on the other hand did not respond in accordance with a previously established set of values, and has a result made decisions that were based on the immediate pain without any contemplation as to long term implications. To this day, the company’s reputation and brand remains tarnished by the spill.
This of course is my point. Do not get stuck in the moment but step back and rely upon the values around which you have built your personal mission statement to guide your actions. After all, this is the primary purpose for having a mission statement.
While your courage to take a stand may be challenging in the short-term, the long-term benefits will far outweigh any immediate pain.
In my new book The Future of You! Creating Your Enduring Brand, I explain in detail how to create your own personal Mission Statement.