Moe and Fred Kiel discuss how to build your own leadership character and a character-driven organization that achieves superior results.
Return on Character
Once in high school, while doing a research paper, I stumbled upon a line from John D. Rockefeller that has forever stayed with me. The most important thing for a young man is to establish credit, a reputation, and character. Back then, there wasn’t much I could do to build credit, but character and reputation were one and the same for me. My outlet was sports, and not only did it teach me humility, perseverance and teamwork; perhaps most importantly, it taught me how to handle winning and losing.
Like most competitive individuals, I hated losing and didn’t really know how to make sense of it until I heard Kareem Abdul-Jabbar say that “you can’t win unless you learn how to lose.” It was a few days after the Lakers had lost the NBA championship to the Celtics, but Kareem was poised, self-assured, and was convincing in his conviction that the measure of a champion isn’t the number of wins and losses, but rather his level commitment and effort. The great irony, of course, is that champions get up while others give up.
In business, the story is the same; anyone can celebrate success, but it takes a real leader to conquer and gain strength from failure. Such individuals are likely to possess Fred Kiel’s four moral principles: integrity, responsibility, forgiveness and compassion. They are champions of the boardroom because they treat others with class and dignity. As you’ll discover in Kiel’s work, Return on Character: The Real Reason Leaders and Their Companies Win, their business success trumps their more self-focused counterparts.
In my conversation with Fred, I pay particular attention to the following topics:
What the world doesn’t understand about character
How much of your character is learned as opposed to being innate
The four moral principles
How great leaders personify the four moral principles
The correlation between character and overall business success
How high character leaders ignite greatness in others
- How high character leaders rebound from setbacks