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Posted on Nov 16, 2017

Values in Leadership: Prioritizing What’s Important

Values in Leadership: Prioritizing What’s Important

Greg Woloszczuk is the co-founder and president of GWM Carolina, a management-consulting firm. He and his wife started the company in 2006.

A big part of Greg’s business experience includes owning and managing three franchise restaurants in North Carolina. He was also responsible as an area developer to grow the franchise business across the state.

The mission statement Greg developed for his franchise restaurants was:

Providing customers a unique, positive experience.

Of interest was the fact that the original mission was “providing customers a unique experience.” But Greg realized that this could mean customers have a unique BAD experience. So he added the “positive” part to ensure the desired outcome was clear to everyone.

Prioritized Values

Based on the company’s mission, Greg derived 4 core values for the restaurants, which were prioritized as follows:

  1. Safety (both personal and food safety)
  2. Food Quality
  3. Service
  4. Profitability

These values were then used in all decision-making, specifically in this order.

Greg highlights that many people involved in the restaurant business would generally put Service as the top value. But Greg realized the importance of putting Safety and Food Quality ahead of Service. As Greg states in the interview:

  • The last thing we want happen is for someone to get sick from a bad meal.”
  • “I’d rather throw something out than serve food that’s not high quality.”
  • “If the food isn’t good, or you get sick from it, service doesn’t really matter.”

The reason profitability is listed last is because Greg recognized profit is generated when you do the first 3 values really well.


Values in Action

The mission and values that Greg developed were clearly outlined in an employee handbook. Employees were also quizzed on them. Managers then used the values as discussion points, when making inspections.

A good coaching example Greg uses is when a manager might find a wet floor in a restaurant dining room. In such cases, he would address this issue directly with employees, and if someone responded, “I didn’t have time to clean it up” Greg would then remind them that Safety was their top value.

Prioritizing values can make a significant difference.

Greg is also a big believer in servant leadership, as outlined by Ken Blanchard in his books. When following this model, the typical hierarchical pyramid is turned upside down when a leader switches from setting vision to implementation. As Greg explains, it’s his job as the leader to set the priorities of what needs to be done. But then he views his job as providing what employees need to get their job done, such as training, tools, etc.

Values are not just for employees. They are for the leaders too.

To listen to the whole interview with Greg, visit: Values in Leadership.


This is a new Business Leader Series called Values in Leadership, where I share relevant insights gleaned from interviews with successful business leaders. I welcome your comments or questions by emailing: