Lesson 1: Topic 12 of 19
There are many more good illustrations of correctly dealing with conflicting corporate core values and many not so great ones, too (Enron’s was a spectacular failure). A final example, well known in nursing homes, is the clash between two extremely important values: honoring residents’ freedom of choice while at the same time providing them with the best possible quality of life. Many smokers want to continue using tobacco after moving in; many diabetics want to continue consuming refined sugars. Both behaviors are detrimental to their long-term health and well-being, but regulatory agencies have made it clear that freedom of choice is the more important of the two values.
If there should be a conflict of core values – within yourself, or in a group setting – be willing to reevaluate them. Conflict doesn’t have to be unhealthy; often it is vital for continued growth and excellence. People of good integrity can often dialogue through their disagreements to find solutions. Are the values all equally important, or are some more sacred than others? Are some emotionally and visceral, but unrealistic and impossible to truly implement? Have priorities changed since these values were identified and embraced, and therefore need to be reordered? Might you benefit from having a counselor or consultant help? An independent, objective viewpoint may be able to help establish priorities, help you see alternate perspectives, and facilitate communication. Clear communication is key to resolving conflicting core values, because they are not infrequently unsaid, assumed, and/or taken for granted.
As the Heath brothers put it, “By identifying and enshrining your core priorities, you make it easier to resolve present and future dilemmas.” One person who knew this truth, a country lawyer and former US Representative running as a candidate for the Senate in 1860, flipped the well-known (and unethical) proverb “might makes right” in a make-or-break speech by saying,
Let us have faith that right makes might, and in that faith let us to the end dare to do our duty as we understand it.Abraham Lincoln
Core convictions define an individual’s character and an organization’s corporate culture. If they are right, and you have the courage not to waver from them, then rarely if ever will you be put into a situation where the dilemma is unresolvable.
Pause and consider: Does your facility or practice have values on paper that are not lived out?
What are the core convictions that you live by?