Company values can help you connect purpose and meaning to your work. And there are times when those values can also help you make some tough decisions.
One of our Workmatters Institute participants shared a story with me that demonstrates just that. A coworker confided to my friend that she was being asked to do something by her manager that was wrong – not “land you in jail” wrong, but still unethical. She knew the right thing to do, and wanted to do it, but still felt very real pressure from above to compromise her principles.
My friend was able to point to the company’s number one value – Integrity – as she counseled her coworker. This was the anchor her coworker needed; it helped focus her decision away from the pressure of the peer-manager relationship and onto the company value. In some ways it helped my friend’s coworker realize that the decision to act with integrity had already been made for her, and she just needed the courage to carry it out.
Integrity is hard, and most of the struggle is in the little compromises or spins or deceptions, not in the stuff that can land you in prison. There are pressures in every direction to win, to justify, to self-protect. But if you can anchor integrity in a company value, you can enter a challenging conversation with a manager on common ground: the best interest of the company.
Making decisions based on our faith will ring hollow in the ears of many of our managers and peers. And while we must never shy away from living our convictions, the more we can articulate those convictions in a common language – like company values – the more likely it is that we’ll be heard.
And when we’re heard, we will have the opportunity to go deeper, and maybe even share the good news that is the source and anchor of all our conviction.
I encourage you to find and use your company values – a practical way to live your faith and help your company have integrity. Print them out, put them on your desk and use them! And as you use them, take confidence in the fact that God reveals his truth in many ways – even in those corporate values.