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Golden Career Strategies Blog

In advising clients we often mention the cultural fit of an organization.  Do you like ping pong tables next to your desk?  Is the organization one where all-nighters are part of how the work gets done?  In looking at culture on your way in you certainly want one where your core values are in alignment.  Violating this maxim creates a stressful work environment.  I would suggest that if you do take a position violating the rule of alignment of your basic core values (the gap between your values and the values of the organization) you create a space for stress and anxiety, in all likelihood limiting your tenure.

On the other hand, cultural fit can go too far.  One organizational development firm I’ve used in the past had a wonderful way of charting personality types.  One method determined how a new hire might fit in.  I had a pre-established team take the assessment.  They all had the same profile.  “Wonderful!” you say, “no arguments.”  Sure, but no creativity either.  We were without the creative tension that powers innovation.

Team fit and organizational culture don’t just happen.  We must move with intention to create an environment where the pieces are just different enough to make the machine go round.  My favorite author on workplace issues, Sue Shellenbarger, explore this in a WSJ article called, “The Dangers of Hiring for Cultural Fit.” 


March 2024

  • Identifying and Removing Stressors

    This summer I addressed little things in my life that either annoyed me or added stress. Once identified, it was easy to take action. Below are a few examples. I hope you will be inspired to identify and remove some of your own stressors. 1. Every morning I felt frustrated with having dirt and dog hair on the kitchen floor. Action: Bought a robot vacuum. Result: A smile each morning as I see the floors and empty the vacuum. Love it so much we now have one for the carpeted rooms and will be getting one for the upstairs. 2. […]

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  • Peace Begins with Me

    Recently I attended a Peace Conference. Early in the day we were told that “peace begins with us.” Peace begins with us. I have been contemplating those four simple words since the conference. Peace is defined in Webster’s Dictionary as “In a general sense, a state of quiet or tranquility; freedom from disturbance or agitation; applicable to society, to individuals, or to the temper of the mind.” If peace begins with our own ability to enjoy peace, what are our chances for peace beyond us? How many of us have peace in our daily lives? Today during my morning walk […]

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  • Resolve to be a Better Communicator

    A study by the Joint Commission for Transforming Healthcare revealed that up to 80 percent of serious medical errors can be attributed to miscommunication among medical staff. The good news is that we can easily learn skills to help us communicate more effectively and improve our business and personal relationships. Making effective requests of others is an integral part of good communication in the workplace and at home. But many of us haven’t learned how to deliver a concise request with clear expectations. Oftentimes, we expect others to read our minds or intuitively know how to respond to our requests. […]

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  • Being Compassionate in a Time of Crisis

      If I had to pick one word to describe what we need during this time, that word would be compassion. Compassion for self and compassion for others. Why compassion? When we are under duress or experiencing stress we are more likely to make mistakes, communicate less effectively and present with emotions and behaviors that vary from our norm. For many, the changes and the challenges that we are currently facing trigger unresolved grief or trauma. We feel rocked to our core. Trauma lives in cellular memory, not just the brain. When we experience a traumatic event such as what […]

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  • Communication and Trust During Times of Chaos

    It is virtually impossible to go through a day without communication. We communicate in person, via phone, texts, email, online meetings, social media, and more. The messages can include clues such as tone, body language, facial expressions, and our perspective. During times of chaos and uncertainty, it is even more essential that we begin our conversations with care and compassion. In stressful periods, many experience fear, worry, and anxiety. And those that have experienced trauma in their lives may be experiencing re-traumatization. There is much potential in communication – the potential for productivity or for misunderstanding. We can all think […]

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January 2022

  • The Impact of Fear and 20 Ways to Minimize It

    Chronic fear impacts our physical health, memory, brain processing, and our mental health. This article will explain what happens in our brains and bodies when we experience fear and ways that we can move from fear to resilience. We feel the emotion fear when we are threatened. The perceived threat can be either physical, psychological, or emotional and can also be real or imagined. We often think of emotions like fear or anger as bad, but every emotion serves a purpose. Fear can help to keep us safe by motivating us to take action that will prevent us from harm. […]

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September 2019

  • Does Cultural Fit make for Group Think?

    In advising clients we often mention the cultural fit of an organization.  Do you like ping pong tables next to your desk?  Is the organization one where all-nighters are part of how the work gets done?  In looking at culture on your way in you certainly want one where your core values are in alignment.  Violating this maxim creates a stressful work environment.  I would suggest that if you do take a position violating the rule of alignment of your basic core values (the gap between your values and the values of the organization) you create a space for stress […]

    Read More

August 2019

  • Are You Agile Enough?

    What does it mean to be agile?  How many businesses do you know that espouse agility but couldn’t find it in the dictionary?  There are a lot of demands in the commercial world-Faster-Better-Cheaper.  And on top of that the other guys—whoever they may be—are already doing it, so now you’re in catch up mode.  In this WSJ article by Sue Shellenbarger she discusses the pros, cons and potential harm of corporate agility.  Enjoy!!!

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  • Overqualified or Unemployed, What Kind of Choice is That?

    Ok, you’ve got great experience, killer credentials, you score the first interview, then the second.  And then you get the call, “we appreciate your submittal and participation in this process, however we going with a candidate who is a closer match to our needs.”  “Wait” you say, “my resume looks almost exactly like your requirements, in fact a little better.” “Too much,” they say, “you’re OVERQUALIFIED.”  The kiss of death, or is it?  Organizations want hungry applicants who meet their needs but not too much experience.  Sometimes the overqualified rejection seems like a veiled age discrimination, but it can happen […]

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July 2019

  • Boss Management 201

    So ….. have a new boss?  And perhaps you’ve heard off bosses like this — demanding, unrealistically demanding, not supportive, perhaps you’ve even questioned they’re emotional stability with other members of the management team.  A little while back we had a GCS Roundtable discussion on boss management, we touched briefly on how to engage and manage bosses like this.  Bosses who aren’t team players who impressed the hiring committee with their take charge, self-confidence, change agent presentation. You can’t hide from such a leader.  In fact, you mustn’t take these tirades, or put downs personally. This is your opportunity to […]

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May 2019

  • The Challenges of Finding that First Job

    The ever changing career market throws challenges at seekers as they try to out think employers desires.  I have seen a number of graduates working hard to give employers what they want.  First a graduate degree, then intern experience and now it would seem that job experience helps to set one apart from the crowd.  How does a student and ultimately a graduate find and secure the position they desire? First, have a target.  Internships, graduate degrees and work experience will not add much to your resume if there isn’t a target in mind.  As you gather your education create […]

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March 2019

  • Making your next interview work for you

    Perhaps you’ve had this experience, you interview with a potential new employer, or for a promotion/job change within your existing employer, its a great interview from your standpoint but you don’t get the nod. It isn’t always easy to find that right combination to get to that next step and I don’t have a silver bullet to offer you to overcome resistance. But, you can make some extra preparations for that interview. Be prepared to tell a story about how you overcame adversity to meet a goal. Include as many details as appropriate, you see we remember stories, particularly real […]

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February 2019

  • Promotions can Change more than just your office.

    So you’ve been at your current position for sometime, you’ve achieved some success and you’ve established a number of relationships. The boss, noticing your effort and your success, extends a promotion. Its just what you were hoping for, more salary and the chance to impact the direction of your organization. You turn around to celebrate with your friends and … where did they go? You’d like to think that a title change would not affect your relationships, but it does. How you manage that effectively is key to avoid misunderstanding and confusion, In this article from the Wall Street Journal, […]

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January 2019

  • Another reorganization, is it time to head for the exit?

    We’ve all experienced a company reorganization. Sometimes its economically driven, sometimes it is new ownership, it always causes anxiety. It often surprised me how quickly my co-workers would want to head for the exits before the reorganization was fully rolled out, before they knew how it might affect them. There’s a great deal of emotion expended in a reorganization many times leading to irrational choices. My question often was how can moving to a new company you don’t really know be better than staying where you are and finding out your new role? But, sometimes its just reorg fatigue, too […]

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  • Is it time in your career to yield, make a u-turn, or exit?

    We all work hard to make our careers a success. This can be a detailed plan, it might be an opportunistic path as others pursue you, or it could be that as you reach each point you merely look for the next step. In many situations there comes a time of re-evaluation. Is this leading to where I thought I was headed? Can I afford to stay in this job? Do I have to check my personal values at the door each day to follow through on my assignments. Under conditions where you are challenged each day, where the space […]

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December 2018

  • The Impromptu Speech, rational or rambling?

    Some years ago the manufacturing company where I was VP was about to embark on a major change.  It was important enough that the president wanted to hold a company wide meeting first thing on Monday morning.  Over the weekend I considered how I would approach this topic and the major points.  Monday morning we settled into our cafeteria, the only room big enough, the president came in and started.  “I suppose you’re all wondering why we’re meeting this morning” … “Steve’s got something to tell you,” he said pointing at me.  Wow, talk about impromptu.  I was blessed.  I […]

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  • Career Advice in 3 Words

    Everyday we get advice from all around us.  What to do, what not to do, the best phone, car, etc.  Here is some great investment advice:  Invest in Yourself!  As The Golden Course strives to impress upon clients — reflection upon and improvement of your skills is always valuable.  The skills we focus on and hone during our coaching serve clients not only in their career search, but in community, family and in their new career.  In this Inc. article Warren Buffet speaks to the value of Investing in Yourself.  Advice can be basic, but even basic advice is important.  Cement […]

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November 2018

  • Gratitude makes for happier people, and a more successful business

    Ah, the simple things.  Gratitude.  Grateful people are happy people.  “What have I got to be grateful for?” you might ask.  Indeed, there are those days, those seasons in our life when we might start to believe that we don’t have much to be thankful for.  Perhaps our boss steals our ideas, haven’t had a review or raise in 3 years, the company let me go with no warning or negative feedback ever, my co-workers are cliquish,  and my secretary talks behind my back.   It certainly sound like we’re asking you to drink the Kool-Aid to say there is a […]

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  • Does it pay to be nice?

    So, is civility just a garnish on the plate of business?  We grew up learning how to be nice to those around us, sometimes that gets lost in the busyness of business.  I recall an incident years ago, the factory had a high pressure line break and I shouted to the supervisor to, “Go, shut it off right now!”   He stopped came back and asked if it was too much trouble for me to say, “Please.”  I was completely taken aback.  That said, I have been guilty in the past of sacrificing relationship on the altar of expediency.  I did […]

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October 2018

  • What is Leadership and Who make the best Leaders?

    For a long time businesses have looked for that over the top, larger than life personality to lead.  But is that really what benefits the organization.  Think about the leaders you’ve known in your work life, think about historical leaders and consider what traits serve best.  Oh, sure there is the strong leader who is able to push, pull, or throw the organization against a goal, but what is the steady form of leadership that draws the best out of the team.  A super star doesn’t get the job done, unless the rest of the team is engaged and plays […]

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July 2018

  • Less is more … Happiness comes in small packages

    So what is the basis of happiness?  We often hear money can’t buy happiness, but then most of our time, attention, and effort goes into making more money.  Happiness just may be aligning our efforts with our core values, the more divergent our work is from our core values the more stress and anxiety we experience.  But there is more, sometimes we need to get the stuff out of the way.  Check out this TED talk called, “Less stuff, More Happiness.”

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  • Change takes time…

    We can be in a big hurry to move through change, to gain closure, to put it all behind us.  But is this really the case?  Change, whether it is perceived as good or bad requires us to leave something behind.  When we graduate we leave behind some rather happy times as a student.  When we marry we leave the single life, and even though we prefer to be married (most days), we have to recognize that we have chosen a new life over the old. The old life is not forgotten, nor do we want to put it behind […]

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