What is your organization’s history?

Part of understanding your organization is to understand its his- tory, culture, and values. Researching the history of your organization is usually straightforward. Private organizations may have been covered by the print or online media, so look to those sources for historical information. Check public records for historical information about public companies with financial reporting requirements, government agencies, or other public entities. Research the organization itself and its leadership. e history of an organization is created every day, so pay particular attention to major events in the history of your organization such as a merger, buyout, bankruptcy, a scandal, legal action, natural disaster, or other major event (i.e., September 11, 2001). What impact, positive and negative, did the event have on the values and culture of the organization?

Look for trends, themes, and discrepancies between the organization’s history and its current operations. Is the organization maturing or is it stuck in the past? While the history of an organization is informative, it does not predict the future direction with 100 percent certainty.

Adapted from Career-ology: The Art and Science of a Successful Career, Chapter 7, Organizational Awareness

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