Bridging Philosophical Differences within the Workplace

Organizations are generally made up of a diverse group of people with singular backgrounds who differ about how the world does, and should, work. This is a good thing. Different perspectives bring diverse ideas to the table and are able to see the myriad ways a new idea or new concept will be received. Diversity is less of an asset, however, when it comes to looking at the organization’s goals and philosophies.

This sort of dissent can take many forms. Sometimes it is the young new hires who are so struck by their idealized vision of the organization that they miss the day-to-day realities. Sometimes it is the curmudgeonly supervisor who has turned cynical after too many years at the job. Sometimes, individuals or cliques challenge the organization’s values to promote their personal agendas. While it might seem like the easy answer is to simply encourage those people to seek other employment, this solution has its limits. In many cases, turnover is ultimately bad for business.

Below are a few tips for helping people in your organization get on the same page:

  1. Make sure your organization has clear goals: this is by far the most important point: all too often the vision for an organization is a vague concept instead of clearly stated goals. If you cannot condense your goals into a few clear and concise bullet points, it’s time to go back to the drawing board.
  2. Discuss those goals with everybody within your organization: goals are not just something for upper management to know. Everybody should know what they are and how they personally can help achieve them. Also, everybody means everybody – from your CEO to your cleaning staff.
  3. Make sure leaders demonstrate their commitment to these goals in their actions and statements.
  4. Make your goals part of your employee evaluation process: the individual goals and achievements of your employees should line up with the purported goals of your organization.
  5. Help employees build links from their day-to-day work to large scale company goals. Those links are not obvious to everyone; they have a critical impact on action and attitude.

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