Values update: Authenticity rockets up the charts

Hoist from archives for a brief re-appearance.

A value we hold dear at Troppo - be authentic.

A value we hold dear at Troppo – what’s there not to like about being open and authentic? A Christmas Season message from Troppo

A Troppo community service: 

As we wind down for Christmas I think we all need to reflect on our values. And as most Troppo readers would agree, values are like any other thing in life. Much better if they’re the product of a lot of talk and deliberation and if that’s by highly paid people then so much the better. That’s why I thought a good lead would be the core values of corporations with lots of highly paid people, like PWC. This is particularly the case since I’d recently visited PWC and saw this sign in their lobby. Still, it has not all been plain sailing, leading to this letter to Dr Troppo.

Dear Dr Troppo,

I have a problem. I have several million dollars to determine the appropriate course of action to take in a number of situations – this would concern policy and conduct both in a number of private sector  corporations and some government agencies. I thought I would give the money to PriceWaterhouseCoopers because they seem to have their head screwed on.

But I don’t know too many people there.  However it isn’t really who you know or what you know.  I’ve always thought that it gets down to a question of values.

But that’s where my problems start. Because when I look up the values of PWC UK I find these values.

  • Acting professionally.
  • Doing business with integrity.
  • Upholding our clients’ reputations as well as our own.
  • Treating people and the environment with respect.
  • Acting in a socially responsible manner.
  • Working together and thinking about the way we work.
  • Considering the ethical dimensions of our actions.

By contrast Australia’s PWC values are:

Performance matters

We value outcomes. We strive to achieve and to help others to do the same by trusting each other and teaming together; not micro-managing. We give responsibility, hold ourselves accountable and expect quality in everything we do.

Have a go

We stand up to be counted with considered points of view and actions on topics that matter. We aren’t scared to try new things that deliver value for society, our clients and our firm. We are agile.

Be open and authentic

We keep it real. We bring our true selves to work every day. We don’t shy away from difficult conversations and we listen. We always look to be candid with each other and our clients. We are honest.

Hunger for growth

We value all opportunities to learn and grow. We are committed to using all our experiences, and what we have learnt from them to serve and benefit our clients, our firm and society.

Embrace differences

We embrace and value all our differences because we understand that is how to have the biggest impact. We work together. We use our different points of view, backgrounds and experiences to create better outcomes. We do not diminish others.


We care about building great relationships – within PwC, with our clients and in society. The sort where we appreciate and respect others, celebrate the good times together and support others through the hard times. We always have others’ backs – and care about our clients and giving back to society.

You can see my problem!

The values are different – yet these are the same organisation!

I would like the consultant to treat their reputation as my own (Groucho Marx’s views on clubs notwithstanding). So I should go with the UK PWC? Especially as they respect the environment. (Without the environment in their values, Australia’s PWC might do the work, hand in the report and pretty much trash the environment- they might belch out a few megatons of CO2 or even CFCs for all I know).

On the other hand inauthentic consultants can be a real drag. The UK guys might do the work professionally and with integrity – their values 1 and 2 respectively.  But if they turn up pretending to be people who they’re not? If someone called Bill Lawler for instance turns up dressed in a frock and claims to be Beyonce, well I think you can see my point.

So my questions are

  • Are these values different or am I missing something?
  • Which values do you prefer and why? and
  • Who should get my business?


Nicholas Gruen
Port Melbourne

In any event, I sent the email to Don Arthur who I believe has some kind of relationship to Dr Troppo but he (not Don, Dr Troppo) appears to be in a particularly unhelpful mood.

I spoke to Dr Troppo briefly and he got distracted after the part where I said you had several million dollars to spend on advice. He thinks he might be able to help … for a fee.

On persevering with Don I got back the further answer.

So you don’t want Dr Troppo’s help to write a mission statement and list of values for Lateral Economics?

As I understand it, Dr Troppo’s approach would be to hold a series of focus groups and encourage participants to brainstorm reasons they would not want to do business with your organisation. He would then take the top seven reasons and transform them into pithy statements that express precisely the opposite.

For a fee Dr Troppo will perform the process in reverse to reveal your competitors’ deepest fears and insecurities.

As you can see, these are very worthwhile suggestions, but they don’t go to the heart of my concern, which is, essentially what values to adopt. Can anyone out there help?

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Jane Burger
Jane Burger
10 years ago

I never met a person with values who I could not mock.

10 years ago

It is easy to evaluate. The most authentic are obviously those shared by the most organizations. Goodness in numbers. I therefore cut and past the UK PWC list into Google and I found out that it is not just PWC that has these values, but other companies too!

With software, softkenya will do it; with real estate, re1agency will do it (but who wants to buy in Sydney); and with immigration, prolinkglobal will do it.

My favourite is the Strategems group, which “combines an integrated approach with practical knowledge and experience to help clients meet challenges and respond to opportunities by providing integrated business solutions from the backroom to the boardroom.” to solve your business solutions. Obviously they forgot to mention copying works well too. They clearly thought of this via independence of mind. So if two groups thought of exactly the same thing independently, it must be great!

Paul Frijters
Paul Frijters
10 years ago

Strategic mission statements are just half of the work. We also need a Troppo slogan. Something that captures the spirit of our flowing community of go-forward thinkers advancing our society’s well being. Think of schools with mottos like ‘Honour above all’ (Indooroopilly) or ‘Never tickle a sleeping dragon’ (Hogwarts). Something like that for the modern age, short and pity. Suggestions:

“We can. We will. We did.”
“Thinking, faster and faster.”
“We are one. UR2”
“The power of comments”

David Walker
10 years ago
Reply to  Paul Frijters

“Troppo: Easier than actually running the place”

john r walker
10 years ago
Reply to  David Walker

From New scientists Feedback,
DERBYSHIRE County Council in the UK responded to questions from the newspaper Planning about delays in processing minerals and waste applications: “Our records show that in the future we will be well above the target.” James”
Now that’s a mission statement

Peter Hill
10 years ago
Reply to  Paul Frijters

My son’s primary school (Forest Lodge Public) has the best tag-line: “We pull together”

10 years ago

? Are these values different or am I missing something?

The perception of PWC values and fundamental core ethic baseline is determined by the diversity of stakeholder perceptions. The ethical apex of PWC maintains consistency between international market segments, and the alternative communication modality is explained by the utilisation of a values-matrix. The conceptual framework of the value-matrix is the interlocking intraplay between both sets. For example, being ‘open and authentic’ synergises with ‘doing business with integrity’. Another example, ‘care’ is about relationships which is an optimal fit for ‘working together’.

? Which values do you prefer and why?

As a professional, I prefer PWC values. It is recommended by 9 out of 10 ethical dilemmas and is available for 10 easy payments of one’s brevity.

? Who should get my business?

Me, I need to money to afford the about of soap I need to get clean again from the above.

10 years ago

“There’s only one United” was what they used to chant on the terraces at Old Trafford. Now it’s seating only, I guess it no longer applies. That’s individualism for you.

10 years ago

In fairness, they aren’t really the same organisation :)

10 years ago

It’s all very well for you all to make fun of this as if this is all a joke.

YOU didn’t recently have to sit through a 90 minute workshop of how we would put our new values into action.

And we’ve been promised another!

I DESERVE the money!!


[…] guides (it appears just before “nuance” and after “authenticity” — yes, authenticity really was a corporate value of PwC for a while there). So I’ve tried to revivify it with Iris Murdoch’s magnificent words above. […]

Jim Kable
Jim Kable
3 years ago

I think I may have the gist of this article and interesting, nay clever and witty, responses. In turn I would like to add here a song – the lyrics composed by Alec C. Welsh to the tune of – what else – the Welsh National anthem.

They went forth to battle with bright dauntless eyes
They left home and school and fair Riverine skies
Though they fall in the race everyman ere he dies
Has flung us his torch here at Hay. Hay, Hay…
Off like the wind here at Hay
Strain muscle and thew
The torch must win through
For so much what shall we repay.

The final line was a translation from the Latin of the school motto: “Pro Tanto Quid Retribuemus” – the only Great War/WWI memorial high school in NSW – Hay War Memorial High School. Maybe the only Vision Statement to be fulfilled – and fulfilled far beyond anything imagined by those in that far south western region at that time who put up that educational memorial to the deaths etc of all those young men from there who went off to war.

3 years ago
Reply to  Nicholas Gruen

I did not relate it to your focus – Indigenous/First Nations representatives at the heart of program delivery – but of course that makes total sense – both at the political policy writing level and at the bureaucratic implementation and then at the oversight regulatory part of the equation. In fact just yesterday I noted something on LinkedIn which made mention of an Indigenous Committee – 50% of the membership of which was non-Indigenous!!! The mention was in the form of a cri-de-coeur – or maybe a Zola-like “J’accuse”! Nicholas would have much to say here, I thought. In the meantime this article was what I came across while trying to find my way back to the essay you recently wrote and which I had begun reading around Christmas Eve – but which has now disappeared somewhere!

3 years ago

Values, shmalues. Tell us about it, Isabel (dos Santos)! And what says you, FDIC, on the issue of PWC’s values?