A Struggle With Values

We all strive to be value-driven people. But some values put us in conflict with ourselves especially when that value encroaches on another priority in our lives.

The dilemma we find ourselves in becomes much like when one wheel on a vehicle is out of alignment with the other three. The result, the whole car shakes and rattles. So too, commitment to one value can put our whole life in disarray.

Consider how loyalty can get us into trouble.

Some people of my generation (Boomers)  erroneously believed the social contract between the company and its employees, “you cover our back and we will cover yours.” If that were true, why did we need unions to protect us? Why has the expectation changed on the part of an employee that he/she will be with the company for life?

Changing conditions like shareholder value, new business models, and the need for up-dated skills can see an employee downsized at the drop of a hat. Move up or move out has become the norm in many organizations.

So for a person to believe that he/she needs to be fiercely loyal to that organization when the organization is not loyal in return may not be a wise move.

The same may be said of loyalty to friends. Just because one has known someone forever does not imply a lifelong commitment. This is especially true when the nature of the friendship changes and/or there is an injury to the relationship through a betrayal like backstabbing words and action. It’s all very well to say “Forgive and forget”, but if we are loyal at all costs this could be showing ourselves disrespect or acting in a co-dependent way.

So when do we stick to our convictions in the face of changing circumstances?

I read recently that Hamilton Jordan said that that the worst thing one could say to President Jimmy Carter was that a decision would be bad for his political career. When President Carter knew that an action was the right one both ethically and for the country, he boldly and uncompromisingly took that action.

Your Response

What stand have and would you take even if circumstances dictated otherwise?

When would you back off from a once held conviction?


About cedricj

I am a licensed psychologist and management consultant and have always been intrigued by how leaders can inspire people in their organizations. The bottom line is that people are not always motivated by material rewards, the use of the carrot or the stick, fear and intimidation,and command and control, Five human needs inspire and drive us. Kristine S MacKain, Ph.D and myself describe these inspirational forces in our book "What Inspirational Leaders Do" (Kindle 2008)
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