I recently read a quote attributed to Warren Buffet that went something like this: “Look for 3 things in a person – intelligence, energy, and integrity.   If they don’t have the last one, don’t even bother with the first two.”

I’ve come to realize that a tremendous amount of my time and energy was wasted attempting to help companies where the leadership did not have a strong moral compass or personal ethics.  Business is hard enough.  Add the uncertainty that comes with individuals who mislead their employees, customers, or partners and the bad strategic decisions that can result from that, and you have a recipe for disaster.  I had a boss once who said that he expected one thing from all of his direct reports – no negative surprises.  Bring the bad news, the setbacks, the challenges, and the mistakes to light early on and plans can be made to resolve them.  Or new directions taken.  Or further wasted investment in time, personnel, and capital avoided.

Good decisions and enthusiastic implementation are generally the signs of an organization or a team that has trust in each other, knows that co-workers, colleagues, and team members can be counted on, and that the risk of failure, while always there, is manageable because everyone is dealing with the right information and everyone is focused on the same objective.

Like most of his business decisions, Warren definitely got this one right.

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