A few years back I worked for a high-tech company, and one of the very common phrases you’d hear is “model the way”. This meant more than “lead by example”; it meant that people who worked there–at all levels of the organization–should exemplify the core values (i.e. the “way”) in their words and deeds. First let me state that this primarily is a necessary (and good) thing.
And it works out great…as long as one is internally aligned with those values–or more importantly, how they’re being carried out in the fabric of the company’s culture.
When one is not (or no longer) aligned, things like this may happen:
- The person tries their hardest to fit into the expected model; others sense this person’s lack of authenticity and therefore, don’t get the benefit of authentic modeling; the person acting in-authentically may begin to suffer physically, mentally, and emotionally.
- The person remains authentic by flat-out dismissing the expectation of modeling and the model itself; others are confused about what is expected of them because they see different things; the person being true to themselves may feel frustrated, ostracized, and criticized, which may again lead to suffering in various forms.
I’m sure there are other possible permutations, but you get the idea. It’s hardly a win-win situation.
If one is not in alignment with the actual culture of their company (vs. its stated values), it’s likely they’ll suffer to some extent. Oftentimes such mis-alignments initially seem manageable, until one day the suffering (and health status) of the individual clearly shows they’re not.
In companies small to large, it’s ideal when the corporate values that help meet business goals are integrated into our mind-body system and are authentically reflected out to our employees, bosses, and/or clients.
In fact, it’s this very integration and reflection that makes one professionally successful.
And, I’ll argue that it should never come at the expense of our health!
A Tried-and-True Human Value System
Sometimes, when we start to feel misaligned with how our workplace’s core values are reflected in the corporate culture, it is because they are in conflict with what I’ll call “human core values”.
A nice way to stay connected to our human core values is to use something that may initially sound a bit “woo”: the Chakra system.
Many people believe in a subtle system of energy that flows throughout our system in two primary “roads”, called nadis. (There are actually three major nadis, but for now we’ll stay with these two.) One begins at the base of the spine on the left side, and spirals up the torso, weaving right and left, toward the left nostril and eye. The other begins on the right, and spirals up to the right nostril and eye. The points at which these nadis cross are called Chakras, and there are seven. To stay with the road analogy, think of Chakras as rotaries or roundabouts.
Chakras are assigned different colors and symbols, and each serves the neighborhood it’s located in: in other words, each is responsible for particular physical, mental, and emotional aspects of our well-being.
A “balanced” mind-body system means that energy is moving freely up and down through all seven Chakras.
If there’s a blockage in the energy, it’s like traffic that gets stuck in the circle; issues related to that chakra may manifest. In our road systems, we know that if there are two rotaries close by, traffic stuck in may cause back ups in the other. As such, we often will have multi-chakra issues.
Whether you believe in the existence of chakras or not, the chakra model is an interesting model for determining how aligned you are in body, mind, and spirit with the culture of your workplace.
And once you have some knowledge about where the mis-alignments are, you are better equipped to change yourself, your position, or influence your company’s culture to align better with people.
Because ultimately, good companies know that it’s their PEOPLE who are the most important asset!
Want to know how closely your work life / culture aligns with your human core values, in the context of the chakra model?
Download the worksheet to help you assess & identify specific areas where you might get stuck.