Remembering Character Development

In his 2006 book, Integrity: The Courage to Meet the Demands of Reality, Dr. Henry Cloud proposes that:

 People who become leaders, or really successful, tend to have three qualities…

  1. They have some set of competencies…you can only fake it so long…you just have to get good at what you do. There is no shortcut.
  2. They have to be what I call an alliance builder…with others who have competencies and resources and form relationships that are mutually beneficial. As a result, they leverage what they do well to much greater heights than just being ‘good’ at their job. They forge relationships and partnerships with people…
  3. …let’s get to the real issue…people who possess the first two issues are a dime a dozen. But to truly be successful, they must have the third ingredient as well…

They have to have the character not to screw it up.

who a person is will ultimately determine if their brains, talents, competencies, energy, deal-making abilities and opportunities will succeed… ethics is a part of character.

As we work to build our technical, communication, sales, and practice management skills in order to improve our success as financial professionals, do we spend enough time and effort developing our character? Are consistent, ethical practices really a key ingredient of our success?

Horst Schulze, CEO of West Paces Group and former COO of The Ritz Carlton Companies, believes that all client relationships begin with distrust. The enormous success of the Ritz-Carlton was primarily due to converting tentative or distrustful customers into loyal customers. Loyal customers bring additional customers, buy more, and will not leave when a recession or a new trend comes along. This loyalty is built on trust, which for most businesses, including financial professional practices, is built on integrity, objectivity, competence, fairness, confidentiality, professionalism, and diligence.

Ever thought about who you really admire? What does that say about how we define success? When I look back on the people I most admire after six decades on the planet, I sure would like to know how they did such a good job of developing integrity and character. It’s so obvious that it makes all the difference.

Do you think so, too? Why do you think that is so?

image source