On this episode of Work/Life, Ciara Pressler, founder and author of Pregame, talks with Greg Nibler about how to uphold your values within a business context. In these complex and historical times, how does one take action and be a force for good at their job while still respecting the work and other employees? Pressler digs into the ideas and tips for living out your beliefs at the workplace.
“I had to learn how to not do this over the years,” Pressler begins. It’s easy to be idealistic with “all-or-nothing” or black-and-white thinking, especially when we’re younger, “but I want to suggest to everyone that there can be nuance, and there can be progress without perfection,” she says. It’s important to come at the issues from the standpoint of, “How can I change the game from within the game?” And in order to change the game, you have to know how the game works.
One way to live out your values is to “check the receipts” of the companies you may want to work with, or partner with, or purchase from. Investigate them to see what their values are and if their actions are lining up with what they say. “Read reviews by past employees, read up on their mission, their vision, and their values,” Pressler advises. If what the company is saying doesn’t match up with what their actions are, that might be a good sign to pass on that company.
If you’re already at a job and are looking to instill your values at your work, there are ways to appropriately speak up. “We need to hold companies accountable, but also give them room to improve,” Pressler says. There is room for improvement everywhere, and no person or institution is perfect, so allowing time for growth is important.
Also, Pressler notes, “support the companies that reflect your values. Buy from them, and tell other people to buy from them. We can spend less energy ‘canceling’ them and more energy amplifying and spotlighting the businesses that deserve it.”
Lastly, “make sure you have an inner circle that can give you feedback before you take an action,” Pressler says. “Check in with them to see how your input and ideas sound from the outside, and be sure that your ideas are for the collective good and not just about you looking good.”
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