071 The Role of Culture in Your Career

Culture is the environment, including common values, vision, and mission. Does every organization have one? Likely, yes.

Does the organization live their values? No, not always.

Scott and Andrew share thoughts about identifying your cultural values and how alignment with company culture is a critical exercise for your career.

Don’t miss these Topics:

  • Researching corporate values.
  • Filtering corporate values against your own values.
  • Investigating first hand through networking and interviewing.
  • How to manage the varying levels of belief in and living out the corporate culture.
  • Developing and documenting values as part of the job search and career management process.
  • Maintain openness to possibilities and opportunities for something better.
  • Decisions to make a move within or outside.
  • Would it be worth it to work towards changing the culture.

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Raw and Unedited Transcript

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00:00:01 – 00:05:01

welcome to job seekers radio. I’m Scott and I’m Andrew and this production is meant to be meaningful support for you to find great career careers faster whether you’re working or not that’s right. Today’s episode is brought to you by the anatomy of a networking conversation. It’s a free e book did you can download at Jobseeker’s obscures radio DOT com. It’s a wonderful resource. It’s our philosophy really that we’ve developed a four step process so when you download that document you actually get the companion audio to help walk you through getting your feet wet with networking. If it’s not something that you felt you were really you felt positive about felt felt that it was easy for you. We hope that this will bring it a little bit within your reach Scott. Tell me about today’s show. Today’s show we’re going to be talking about the role of culture in your the job. Search a lot of companies talk about their culture and how they are employee centric in so many ways and I think this is great. The idea that that company executives and leaders are looking for ways to connect with their people and to make them feel better about working there. I think is important and I think it’s critical for for employee engagement. which is something we talk a lot about in the corporate world these days especially in? HR circles as well as within leadership your ship because ultimately they have to keep people engaged right so they create these wonderful cultures. They’re also usually pretty good about promoting what those values might might be. What brought this to mind though? And and as Andrew you and I were talking about this I’ve run into a few conversations recently to that talk about culture her especially from a perspective where when they get there they find out the culture is really just talk. They’re not necessarily living the beliefs or values news that they say they have. They just put that up there to make you feel good about working there while that’s a step in the right direction. They’re seeing as the gap between what they say they value and what they seem to be doing in the workforce so what we want to talk about is how do you recognize that. How do you validate they live the values versus just the talk? And what do you do with the information that you find. Whenever I talked to folks about culture? Their eyes glaze over offer as a job seeker. They’re like culture. What do you mean you’ve never really considered it until you’ve documented and what I found is that if you don’t recognize what culture you you were in and what parts of it you liked and what you WanNa see replicated in your next job? It’s hard for you to even know and that’s the first step or the first challenge challenge that many of my coaching clients have the second step is to believe that they have a choice to pick that culture or not pick that coal right when the job offers on the table even before. I’ve talked to people all the time where they’re saying. Well I can’t really afford to not pursue a company because I need a job. Well I totally appreciate that. I’m not going to challenge that. It is so much better for the applicant to make choices along the way. And if you don’t don’t feel comfortable not choosing to move forward with a company what you can do is choose how you’re going to deal with the situations that you’re going to face especially really if you end up getting hired so it’s important to know what those choices look like. What is it that’s going to make you make a choice and this comes back to culture every company of any any size? We’ll have a vision statement mission statement. They often have a values statement. These are the values that we we believe in as a company whether that’s for the customer or for their employees and obviously we’re looking for that Employment Lens. This is the kind of I’ve worked environment. We create for our employees. The thing I like about that is those companies that do that have a view and I think an accurate one that it’s the employee employee experience that really drives the customer experience because employs that deal with the customers so if the employees are going through a really positive experience the likelihood the customers feel that positive attitude will increase. So what does that look like. You have to go to the website you have to talk to them about what those values are and how they live of them. That’s the culture that means you need to document what you believe. Their culture is the challenge that I’ve seen a lot of people have is. They’ll look at. They’ll look at the website. They’ll say okay. That looks great. They’ll look at their Lincoln. Write Lincoln has a company page where they can say. Here’s what life looks like at Xyz Company and okay. But I never wrote any of these things down and said okay. We’ll which these are even important to me because you may have said Oh. This looks great. I’d love to work there yet. But what does that it really mean for you. Personally and great lends to US too often. We both talked to people looking for work. Who are just putting their resumes out there? They’re making those those connections as quickly as they can.


00:05:01 – 00:10:03

They’re really not paying attention to what is behind the company. That has the job description. Out there You know the job posting take the time time we will challenge you every time. Take the time to look at what that actually means. Not just what the company says. But what does that mean to you would. Would this be important to you if you were there. It may look good but not really apply to you or it may not really align with what is important to you. That’s important to I know as you are then taking that information you’ve highlighted. These are the things that are important to me. You now have an opportunity to talk to someone whether it’s networking or an interview situation about how you fit in with that culture. How you ally with them with that said the next step is to find out? Do they actually live their values news. And that’s GonNa take more than one brief conversation. You have to talk to several people to find out. Is this just the way. They present themselves or do they actually put their air money where their mouth is and live this and expect this within their organization at all levels. Couple things to be cautious of when you’re going through this kind of validation process success is not to assume that if you’ve heard it five times it must be true because often we think okay if I’ve heard it from five different people in an organization of thirty thousand. That’s still not a big enough sample size. Not only that have they said it in exactly the same way if they’re using exactly the same words. Okay this is something. They’re drilled old in but do they live. Do they live it and the second challenge that I see or at least the vulnerability to think about. Is this idea if I’m asking them questions since I have to ask him in a way that I can get the answer I need and are often. Were asking questions directly. You know. See you haven’t interest like I’m just regurgitating. What I saw on the website site? I see you have an interest in diversity. Great what you’re interested in diversity. Yeah what are we talking about. So we’ll see where I I thought you were going to go with. This is how you direct. You are in asking questions because that’s another topic that I just had a conversation with someone. This last week was perhaps there to direct Iraq and I remembered a story when I was interviewing years ago at a hotel for a leadership position and I was interviewing with evs the the second or third step at the process interviewing with the general manager and I went to the direct and I said so I understand that this hotel has a reputation for or being a revolving door for people within my division. What are we doing to counter that? and He came back with. Wow that is actually my responsibility. And he’s he responded in such a way to let me know that I had just put in a Dick insulted him while it was true. I probably could have have massage that a little differently right. I could have asked the question that would have given me the information I needed without making it. Feel like an accusation as you are finding being out the information you need. It’s really important that you interview them and interviewing we talk about behavioral questions which are open ended. Did it isn’t. Are you doing something about this. It is tell me about a time when something happened and what you got out of that. These are are the kinds of questions that as you ask them. You’re going to find out whether or not their culture is actually the type of environment you want to work in but again coming coming back to your original question. Why do you want that kind of environment? You’ve got to be able to answer that question. You have to be clear about and not. Many people have given consideration in hiring hiring process for these components. It’s like what I need is a resume and a cover letter and I need to apply online. I only need three tools right. I don’t need to actually evaluate the culture. I don’t need to network and so there’s a bunch of things that people don’t think they need to do and then they’re disappointed when they get on the job and it’s shitty environment. I totally agree with you. conversation that I was having with this guy this past week we were talking about being disappointed because it has been my experience far more than once of coming into an organization believing that they live the culture they publish and then only to find out later that they are not consistent or they don’t actually actually care they don’t live according to what they say they value and if you consider the difference between disappointment or a big delighted both are true as the gap between what you expect and what is delivered. Then who’s responsibility is it than to to have done the due diligence to discover. What is the culture I am? I going to fit their the experiences that I have had is that I trusted too much in in the beginning that they did do this rather than they aspired to this which is a completely different mindset. It’s a little bit of a nuance as it is so if I know going into that this is what we aspire to.


00:10:03 – 00:15:05

But we don’t always do it. I can actually accept the failures. has they come as opportunities to to grow rather than being offended that they don’t live their values and that’s up that’s in my head that’s going on in me is still your experience. It is and it’s still something you have control of. That doesn’t give them license to continue that behavior true. I still have choices to make. Once I realized how well or how poorly they do to the way I approach. It is different and so that is going to affect the way you have these networking conversations with people if you are validating that everyone is is saying the same thing that they do talk about their values consistently and there appear to be those stories of how they live. Those values remember that they’re going to pick and choose. Who is the best stories to tell that one? You’re more likely to get into that area. That were they really do live their values as you validate this and ask. Those open ended questions that aren’t putting them on the spot. They don’t feel like they’re being accused of anything. But you’re trying to build a big picture with their help is not uncommon. That if if you’re listening to this podcast that you’re probably working somewhere where some of these components exist in. You’re thinking to yourself what do I do now. You can use these same concepts in meaning you have some choices to make. The first thing is to remember you have a choice. The second thing is to remember is to think about. Hey what do I really enjoy about where I’m at right now. Even though it may not be the best is we often don’t consider that there are still virtues here to focus on or we get so bogged down in the negatives that keep keep coming back that we forget to take time to think about what goes well. It’s important that we make an effort to do that. If only to keep ourselves grounded in what we can enjoy for some of our listeners. There may be a situation where you have nothing that you really enjoy their. And it is time for you to leave. We acknowledge that we encourage urge you to get that networking going so that you can get out as soon as you can but most of us are in a situation where even if we’re not totally happy and the job we can find something positive positive that keeps us afloat and that is what builds the resilience that we need to find our next opportunity. If you’re in a situation where you’re maybe you’re offered a job rob and you’re you have questions about the culture. Your first choice will be whether or not you accept that offer. I would never say no. Don’t do it unless you know that that culture is going to be toxic for you and remember also cultures are not necessarily toxic for everyone. SOMEONE IS GONNA come out ahead in that. It may not be the right opportunity for you if this is going to be a gap job you know that we’ve talked about data right other podcasts. Were we’re going to set that aside at this point. That is a choice choice you can make. And if you’re in a position where you have to take the job now because you need a job right now. Remember that you will continue to have choices as you go keep your networking going. Keep Your Eyes Open for all of the opportunities within this organization that you just joined as well as outside because you are responsible for your own experience each opportunity is a chance for you to refine what it is you you enjoy what it is you like. What kind of people you enjoy working with breath so even in a bad situation I guarantee you? There’s something good I like working with people okay. What kind of people do you enjoy working with? So this is me putting my coach hat on because part of this process going from zero to one is probably the hardest meaning. I’m in a place on getting paid. Why should I leave? I now have to get leverage on myself. Just to go from zero to one is a useful exercise to take a look at these cultural components throughout your career. At any point in time you should probably have a document of some kind that describes your next step or your dream job or whatever it is. You’re trying to accomplish in your career in your life and your whatever’s the other thing that I was thinking as you were saying saying who are the people that you do like now you’re also building your list for the kind of culture you WANNA be in. I WanNa work with people that are like this you know I. I’m currently working with ten and different people on my team. But it’s really joe and Sally that I really like working with why. What is it about Jones? Sally that you feel good about working with them. What does that look like? Another companies who who is outside or maybe another departments within the same company. Who is it? That’s going to work with you similar to the two that you do like now you’re creating the list subculture that you want to give an example where Sally Joe and Suzy or whatever interacted with you. Well enjoyed it right so now. I’m looking at not only why but but I’m looking at how. How is that exhibit? And so you might say okay. Well I like working with Sally because she adds something to the conversation. Okay give me an example. Now I can look at that example and then I can reverse engineer a question for that hiring team or in my networking interactions to say. Hey when a situation like this comes up right. So you’re really already have documented what that looks like and is it as exhibited inside the company.


00:15:05 – 00:20:05

I think that’s brilliant. I do think that a lot of cases we are able to take that initial job that we absolutely needed and then parlay that into something. That’s actually better. You have to be patient in doing that. Because very few companies want to hire you into a physician that immediately allow you to transfer into something else unless they’re in a high growth situation where that actually make sense for them. Moving out of an organization isn’t always they only option that you have moving elsewhere within the organization can be a good option and their times when moving out of the organization really is your bat so we come back to that question. What is it that you enjoy doing? What companies are out there that do the same sorts of things and who can you validate eight that these organizations have the culture? You’re looking for. I think it’s always good to assume there’s something better. There’s probably a better job a better manager a better organization of if you don’t assume there’s something better you’re going to stop looking. You’re you’re gonNA stop doing the things that got you to where you are in the first place right. I like that the other thing about that is if you can’t find the one that’s better than maybe a suggestion that you’re in a good spot. So how can I change my mindset. That will be. That will make me more resilient in the negative times that I’m having so that I’m focused more on the positives. We are looking for validation of the kind of Culture Richard that we work well in that resonates for us that things that we really aligned with. How do we get into that more? Whether it’s looking outside the company or at least is looking outside your team or department. These are ways for us to actually make things better for ourselves without feeling like we have to start over. Don’t overlook the value you making this a fertile playground. If you’re the type of person that likes turning cultures around that you love change any love maybe you look at this like a challenge right. This is a great new challenge for me to impact this culture. I know I’m only one person but only really takes one person to change an entire culture. It does you will need to do that a carefully. I love the idea. I have done that sort of work before I enjoy it but you have to be very careful I to understand on a very deep level. How and why they do what they do now? Because there is a reason somebody further up likes what they see before you go in and try and change something find out why the status quo is the status quo. What is the value that the current situation brings to those who are making the decisions? Because if you have that in mind as you’re looking for things is that can improve. You could actually turn that and connect it back to what they value while seeking change that you would like to see that way. You’re getting the buy in from the beginning. If instead you come in and immediately say oh I can change this out of the other. I did that early in my leadership career where I came in in a director position position because they needed my skills. I saw ways that my staff could do things a little differently. That would help them. So I made the changes and they resented it even even though they were having greater success. And it’s because I didn’t take the time to find out what they were doing now and why they were doing now why that was important. In the previous he s moment you know with their their prior boss. Had I done that I would have had a much easier transition of making the changes that I wanted because I understood where they were coming from. That was a really important lesson for me to learn now in the end we were a really tight team. We’ve stayed in touch over the years since that was a lesson. I need to learn. Learn it from me. They don’t don’t make the mistake of going in and changing it right away. If change is your thing if you are you’re change oriented and you like making that kind of difference. No that takes time before you start the process and it’s going to take time to initiate any chain yes. These are all components of probably a change model. You’re familiar with the idea. Is You know I’m looking at it from the perspective of Gosh I’m mad. I’m pissed they sold me something I did want and then I’m just going to go into satisfied every day. You know what I mean I do and and so the the idea here I look at it like a challenge. That’s hey you know. I know they WANNA spouse to these values. I’m going to do whatever I can’t get them there and look look at that just as a personal challenge to do whatever you know process that you feel is appropriate to get there and I like the point that you make. It’s easy for us. Once we realize just how far or how little we can actually effect change. We have the tendency all human beings do to go in and say okay. I’m just GONNA and get my minimum. I’m done with us. You will feel better about your contribution if you set that feeling aside and continue to do the best work you can do due to make the changes you can to have the positive impacts that you can and allow them to make the decisions they wanna make has. What’s out of your control is out of your control? Troll make a change take a step do something as a result of today’s session.


00:20:05 – 00:21:19

Today’s podcast there might have been something you learned. Here is not just good enough that you sit. Sit here and listen to this podcast every something whether it takes something you know so what we want you to do is actually go to the website. JOBSEEKER’S RADIO DOT COM forward slash zero seven seven. One scroll down to the bottom of the page and just leave us a comment. What did you try? What are you GONNA do ask a question or what did you try? And it didn’t work work because that’s going to be a really good learning opportunity. Why didn’t it work to to your best record election or your ability to interpret whatever happened line? It didn’t work. What did you learn from that? What will you do differently next time? Because that’s how we really grow go to job seekers radio DOT COM forward slash zero seven one for show notes. And while you’re there there’s a free resource for you. It’s called the anatomy of the networking conversation. Is A book that we put together for your use and and you can also head over to itunes leave rate in review. It spreads the message we do. This is a labor of love and so please spread the love. Well this is Andrew and I’m Scott and in the words of William early ambition is the path to success. Persistence is the vehicle you arrive in. Thanks everybody bye bye.


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