I am going to give you the best free career advice I can. I always teach hire culture and character, strengthen skills, and teach subjects.

You must match the culture of the employer. If you love integrity and excellence, they must love it too. If you like to lie, cheat, and steal, you need to find an employer who does too. If mediocrity is who you are, find the employer who is a model of mediocrity. If you and the organization do not share the same values, you will never value each other in the long run.

If you do not match and fit the culture and that culture intends to remain the same, it will never really work for you, the organization, or the customers you serve. It is the #1 reason that executives and professionals depart – they thought the organization was X and it turns out to be Y.

Research organizational culture before applying for a position with the organization (hint: that information is readily available – talk to current and former employees, read their press coverage, read their audits/accreditation/customer satisfaction reports and other reports by a number of independent and outside entities over time, look at their organizational health metrics, etc.).

Pay close attention during recruiting, application, and the interview process for cultural cues (e.g. not what they say but who they really are).

If it is not a match and you stay and they make the mistake of allowing you to stay, both of you will be unhappy. In fact, both you will become more unhealthy over time as the amount of time, energy, and effort it takes you to try to be someone you are not at work is exhausting.

Technical competency, a great desire by you to help the customers, or genuine talent will not resolve this issue.

Many organizations do not hire for culture. They hire fast and fire slow making it even worse.

The key to culture is the same as character which is consistency. The risk is the organization who preaches a specific culture but does not live it. If you meet a single supervisor who does not exemplify their stated culture, the question is answered: they do not have a clear and consistent culture. A mixed culture or default culture is common. Research to avoid the risk. Look to confirm long term consistency of culture before applying.

When you do this, it works. If you do not, it never will. Too many organizations view culture as a non-priority. Don’t make that same mistake. I hope this helps.


From the Teacher: Leadership Lessons with Dr. Saviak is a weekly column with the esteemed Joseph C. Saviak, Ph.D., J.D., M.A., M.S., Management Consulting & Leadership Training.


Featured Image: Inc. Magazine


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