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How much does character count? A lot

By - Last modified: March 5, 2013 at 12:46 PM

Earlier, I called Character the second half of The Job At The Top. I mentioned how carefully employees, customers, suppliers and your greater community are watching you for micro-hints.

Clues about who you really are. And about how you think. In order to decide how much of themselves to commit to you and to your cause.

You’ve felt it before. Companies where the atmosphere’s electric. Those places where everyone seems energetically locked together to accomplish something great vs. places that are dull, with dull people simply enduring a day at work in order to go away and do something else.

Which is yours? More importantly, what makes the difference?

The difference? Are you sitting?

It’s you.

It’s the person in The Job At The Top. More specifically, it’s how you handle yourself, at work and away.

It’s the level of discipline you apply to maintaining consistency of personal character. And it’s a far more dominant determinant of business success than most people imagine.

Because who you are – your character — underpins the zeal with which everyone else in your organization commits themselves to supporting you and your thinking.

People who are the best at this come across as authentic, easy to understand and predictable. They are anchored to principles that everyone admires. Principles they can count on to be protected. By you. Regardless of the circumstances.

And how do you convey these attributes? Through the tiniest details of your everyday behavior. And through the gravest moments of truth.

People are watching you, again, more carefully than you’d ever imagine, for signals of authenticity of your character in both of these circumstances. And at every time in between, using that as their basis for entrusting you with their loyalty, their respect, their hopes and their passions.

It sounds difficult. But it’s not – if you learn to pay scrupulous attention to how you are being perceived.

In your 20 minutes alone, three times a week, list things you’ve done during the past few days to inspire people to be the best they can be. Before long, more of those will appear in your behavior involuntarily. Your organization will become more committed, more effective.

And you’ll be doing a better Job At The Top.


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