Developing authenticity in values

Every company wants results.u00a0 To achieve great results, every company needs a great culture.

Developing authenticity in values

Every company wants results.  To achieve great results, every company needs a great culture.

Craig Groeschel in his leadership podcast on value driven culture (available free on YouTube) states: “A great culture is more than environment.  More than the colours and the building.  It’s a bunch of intangibles created and guarded by leadership.”

He goes on to state: “The number one force shaping culture is values. Because what we value determines what we do.”   He goes onto talk about the importance of communicating those values clearly and driving them deep into the culture of the organisation.  He says: “Show me a strong, effective, growing organisation and I’ll show you a group of people unified around a clearly stated set of values.  Show me a struggling or mostly ineffective organisation and I’ll show you a group of people organised around unclear or unhealthy values.”

It is clear that attention paid to creating an authentic set of values which can drive the actions of people within an organisation is critical.  Never underestimate how powerful they can be.   Values fuel direct decision making and behaviour and therefore results.  They guide leadership and the actions of team members on a daily basis.

It is for these reasons that At Papa John’s, we have worked hard to develop our own core values.  They illustrate the way we carry out our purpose:

People first.  We believe in equality, diversity, inclusion and teamwork.

Do the right thing.  Focus on the customer and team members

Everyone belongs.  Integrity and character for a better community

Innovate to win.  Think differently and lead change

Have fun.  It’s pizza, it has to be fun!

We live by these values every day and encourage our team members to bring them into all aspects of their work.  It means we have a unified approach.

There are many other great examples of companies with strong values.  For example: Coca-Cola’s values are: Leadership, Collaboration, Integrity, Accountability, Passion, Diversity, Quality. 

Facebook’s values are:  Focus on impact, Move fast, Be bold, Be open, Build social value.

It is unlikely these companies would have been so successful without the bedrock of these values to influence company culture.

We also know that the more embedded values become within any organisation, the more successful it will become as the whole team will be pulling in the same direction.  

As a company, it’s great to have values but their degree of authenticity is determined by the actions and goals of the organisation and that is in turn influenced by your behaviour as a leader.  

Craig Groeschel explains this as:  “Culture is a combination of what you create and what you allow.”

So, think about behaviour and question if this truly reflects real-life actions.   Leaders bring values to life. Team members will mirror the leadership team and so work to monitor and adjust behaviour honestly from the top down to align with the set of values of the organisation.  

Things generally go wrong when little thought has gone into that original set of values, or they don’t exist at all or their relevance becomes eroded over time.  There becomes a disparity between what happens in reality and what should happen (the values).  So, ensuring the values are correct for that organisation from the outset, means they naturally can become more embedded and therefore authentic, steering behaviour and therefore the overall success of the company.

Craig Groeschel confirms: “Healthy cultures never happen by accident.”   “If you want a different culture change what you value.”

Sit down and determine what you really value and ensure this is defined accurately and written down. Prioritise what means the most to you, hone the values and ensure they work for your organisation.  It will be time well spent.  Revisiting them regularly will also ensure that as your organisation evolves, they remain relevant and authentic.  It means you can attract and retain the right people and it’s people that drive the success of organisations.   Work hard to communicate and instil the values into the everyday culture of your organisation.  They define uniqueness; help you stand out from the competition and will contribute to driving the overall success of your company better.  


Justin Gilbert
Justin Gilbert