Find Your Redlines

We outlined three potential solutions to dealing with values that are out of alignment in previous discussions. One of those was figuring out how to draw new or better boundary lines, another was opening communication channels and getting a clear understanding of expectations. The third was realizing that we just needed a new direction and making a break.

Different people figure out what solutions they need in different ways. Sometimes, it helps to escalate solving the problem from drawing boundaries and talking, but personally, I start looking at that value alignment and seeing if there are any deal-breakers out there, any red lines.

When an organization’s cultural values are out of alignment with my values, that’s usually when it’s time for a new direction. There’s not much you can do to fix it, and you have to ask whether you can truly insulate yourself against something that’s causing that much conflict. For example, respect, especially self-respect, is a red line for me. If an organization creates or tolerates a culture where people aren’t treated with respect or tries to beat the confidence out of them, that’s a no-go for me. And sometimes this can be fairly insidious.

A friend and mentor once wrote a LinkedIn post titled “Don’t take the bonus” if your reason for leaving was not to make more money, and pointed out that a bonus wouldn’t fix the culture you were trying to leave.

What kind of things are red lines for you? Are you struggling with decisions and actions that are putting your non-negotiable values into conflict? If so, find the door and find yourself a new direction. Otherwise, it’s time to start mitigating!

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