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No that you have a short list of possible organizations, let’s dig down to the next level.  An organization’s work might fit your mission well, but if the culture does not align with your values, you’ll could find yourself miserable and either get stuck or have to start your job search all over. This lesson helps you answer the question, “Is my target organization a good fit for my values?”

Here’s a short story: I interviewed with a company where the folks I met were intelligent, delightful, forward-thinking. But when I started the job, I discovered that the culture was bureaucratic, dull, and uninspiring. I call it my heaven and hell story: heaven on the outside, hell on the inside. I kept job hunting and found a better fit with a startup. An organization with a good culture is probably a company that will succeed and gives you lots of growth opportunities.

This lesson is important because at this stage, you want to assess how you will fit in with the organizations on your short list. This is where you compare your self-assessment work (Who you are) to the organizational culture (Who they are). If there is alignment, keep moving forward. If there isn’t, then seriously consider moving elsewhere. Culture is the context for your engagement, and the organization’s success.

Culture eats strategy for breakfast” 

– Peter Drucker

Organizational Culture

Watch this video for a basic understanding of the elements of organizational culture.

Source: Have That Talk

How can you learn about an organization’s culture? Two ways: from the outside and the inside. From the inside, speak with current employees, personnel departments, information interviews, and employment interviews. From the outside you can observe the behavior or the organization and employees. How do their employees behave? Are they empowered to help customers? Do they know their business? Are they accessible?

Action Steps

  1. Learn about how they onboard, train, and support their employees.  Do they have ongoing professional development and incentive programs? Wouldn’t you want to work at an organization cares about you enough to help you succeed?
  2. Find out how employees feel about working in the organization: is there a collegial and collaborative environment, or is it dog-eat-dog?
  3. Talk with leadership, get a feel for compatibility and synergy.  What is their vision and plans for the future. How do they see the current problems they face and what are their solutions? Culture starts at the top.
  4. Assess their standing and reputation in the industry, field, and in the market. Are they focused? Do they lead?

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