Leadership & Character – Vision & Meaning

Vision concept with hand pressing a button

The ability to make good decisions is an important skill for leaders. In order to be able to make good decisions, leaders must have a clear focus. This focus can come from the vision that the leader is trying to achieve and the underlying purpose or meaning that is served by the vision. So, let’s take a look at the importance of vision and meaning in character-based leadership. Read more

Leadership & Character – Integrity

integrity word cloud on digital tablet

The past two blogs have focused on the assessment of character using the methodology Fred Kiel introduced in his book entitled “Return on Character”.  In the book, character in leadership is based on an assessment of the presence of four universally-accepted moral principles: integrity, responsibility, forgiveness and compassion.  We’ve reviewed the impact of responsibility and forgiveness on character.  In this blog, we will look at the importance of integrity as it relates to character-based leadership. Read more

Leadership & Character – Forgiveness


There are many ways to measure the degree to which a leader demonstrates positive character and my last blog reviewed the methodology Fred Kiel introduced in his book entitled “Return on Character”.  In the book, character in leadership is based on an assessment of the presence of four universally accepted moral principles: integrity, responsibility, forgiveness and compassion.

Last time we explored responsibility.  This time we will gain insight into the importance of forgiveness as it relates to character-based leadership.  Forgiveness is a powerful characteristic to exhibit as a leader because it has the power to add tremendous strength to relationships. An important truth is that a leader’s success is profoundly influenced by the strength of the relationships. Read more

Leadership & Character – Responsibility

Businessman pressing an Responsibility concept button.

There are many ways to measure the degree to which a leader demonstrates positive character.  In his book entitled “Return on Character”, Fred Kiel measures the character of leaders based on four universally accepted moral principles:

  1. Integrity
  2. Responsibility
  3. Forgiveness
  4. Compassion

Let’s explore the importance of responsibility to character-based leadership.  In his book, Kiel connects the principle of responsibility to two important behaviours: Read more

Leadership & Character – Reacting to Setbacks

leadership and character in business

Many years ago when I was working for Loblaw companies, I remember attending a management conference where a remarkable individual by the name of W. Mitchell did the keynote address. He was a perfect example of an individual with great leadership and character; someone who reacted positively to the setbacks he had encountered in his life. The title of his keynote address was “It’s Not What Happens To You, It’s What You Do About It™ “. Mr. Mitchell had also written a book with the same title. His talk was fairly straightforward and yet incredibly powerful. In a nutshell, he talked about his belief that even in the most difficult circumstances, you have a choice with respect to how you respond to what has happened to you – you can either play the role of a victim and wallow in self-pity, or you can choose to move forward in as positive a manner as possible. What made his message so powerful were his own life circumstances and the degree to which he had followed his own advice. In 1971, at the age of 28, W. Mitchell was involved in a horrific motorcycle accident where he sustained burns to 65% of his body. Four months in hospital gave him the opportunity to think deeply about how to deal with the situation. He embraced a philosophy/theology/ concept called “Morehouse” that advocates taking responsibility for your actions no matter what happens to you. Read more

Leadership & Character – Cheating

leadership training expert

On February 1, 2015 the National Football League celebrated its marquee event – the Super Bowl. The latest edition of the Super Bowl has taken on a whole new story-line because one of its most accomplished and famous players – Tom Brady – has been accused of being involved with deflating the footballs used in the game to an air pressure level lower than the standard set by the rules. It is alleged that he gained an advantage by being able to grip the ball more securely on a day when the game was played in wet conditions. This story has come to be known as “deflategate”. Read more

Leadership & Character – The Importance of Caring

leadership training expertThe focus of today’s blog is the importance of caring to character-based leadership. There is an old quote by Theodore Roosevelt “Nobody cares how much you know, until they know how much you care.” It is widely accepted that business knowledge is a very important attribute of successful leaders. However, a leader’s business knowledge is only valuable if the leader is able to effectively communicate it so that it will influence the actions of others.

To shine a light on the impact that a caring approach can have on the power of a leader, I’d like to share the story of the leadership and ownership struggles at Market Basket, a grocery retail chain with more than 70 stores located in the eastern United States. As CEO of Market Basket, Arthur T. Demoulas had developed a strong reputation for caring; earned by always making time for employees. Read more

Leadership & Character – Trust

character attributes in business - trustI have recently been doing some reading on the process people undergo in making decisions. I am fascinated by the number of factors that influence decisions and the impact of these factors. As one would expect, logic and reasoning (assessing the pros and cons), is an important element in the decision making process. What I found intriguing is that people can make decisions that – when objectively analyzed based on the data – are decisions that are difficult to rationalize. Factors such as emotion, pre-existing perceptions and trust play a large role in the decisions we make. Leaders must be aware of these factors and their impact on decisions. In this blog post, I am going to focus on the role of trust in decision making. Read more

Important Business Leadership & Character Trait – Perseverance

persistenceIdentifying the traits, values and virtues that are present is a person of good character is a pursuit that has been going on for centuries. Aristotle identified twelve virtues that are present in someone of good character. As you might expect, the virtues are not mutually exclusive and can provide great insights to how good character impacts business leadership. For example, Aristotle included courage, practical wisdom and right ambition in his list of virtues. Many studies of leadership traits identify perseverance as an important trait that successful leaders possess. At the heart of perseverance is the concept of persistence. This is where character comes into play.

Persistence without good intentions or right ambition is problematic. It can lead to someone pushing hard to achieve outcomes that may serve an individual agenda rather to the detriment of others. Persistence without practical wisdom can lead to bad decision outcomes because it involves someone driving others to follow a path that would – under scrutiny – be seen as a poor choice. I think that perseverance is the persistent pursuit of outcomes that are both wise and good. Furthermore, it takes courage to persevere particularly in the face of failure. Thomas Edison invented the light bulb – a great accomplishment – but it took him over 2000 failed attempts to reach success. He certainly demonstrated courage to keep going. He also demonstrated wisdom and right ambition and so his perseverance is seen is a positive light. Read more

Leaders Embracing Change

change managmentChange is an everyday occurrence. You’ll find well-rounded leaders embracing change and having the ability to recognize the opportunities that change can bring and to “Realign Rigorously”. In order to do this, the leader needs to become a pro at innovation. And, that means never start with “it can’t be done.” What is needed, is the ability to create new mindsets, break the mold, think outside of the box and innovate. ‘Success comes in cans’ is a great play on words that contains profound truth.

People have many reasons for resisting change including: Read more