Why Character Trumps Vision, Passion, and Strategy

Vision, passion, and strategy are buzz words among leaders. For years we’ve been drilled on the importance of each one.

Vision sets the destination. It’s the answer to the question “What are we doing?” Every team needs a strong vision, and that comes from the leader.

Passion is the fuel that runs the engine. It answers the question “Why are we doing this?” Passion springs from the inner motivation of the leader, and it’s contagious.

Strategy is the grid that holds our effort together. It answers the question “How will we get this done?” You cannot hope to see results without a solid strategy.

Yet there is one thing more important than any of these: Character.

Solomon, who knew a thing or two about leadership, said exactly that: “A good name is to be chosen rather than great riches, and favor is better than silver or gold” (Proverbs 22:1).

The character of a leader is the glue that holds any movement together. A leader who lacks integrity invariably disappoints the team and crashes the train. A leader with strong character calls forth the best from every team member, helping them become the contributor—and person—they are capable of being.

Good character wins over skeptics. Criticism never sticks to a leader of high integrity. The leader with a solid reputation is a source of strength and stability for others. And it is the most important characteristic of good leadership.

As a leader, you undoubtedly spend a great deal of time sharpening your vision, fueling your passion, and refining your strategy. How much time do you spend improving your character?

Take the advice of the apostle Paul to an up-and-coming leader named Timothy, “Let no one despise you for your youth, but set the believers an example in speech, in conduct, in love, in faith, in purity” (1 Timothy 4:12).

What’s your best tip for becoming and remaining a leader of integrity? I’d love to hear your answer on Facebook or Twitter.



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Keith Richards needs something new. A successful stockbroker married to a gorgeous wife, he has it all or so it appears. But this morning he impulsively walks out of his Detroit office and catches the first plane to Seattle…heading to Mac s Place, a neighborhood coffee shop he frequented before he became such a success.

Laughter greets Keith. The sweet smell of coffee wafts over him. It s good to see you! Joe exclaims. Keith can t stop his grin. I flew in for some real coffee. He settles onto his favorite barstool. The fit is as good now as it was three years ago. He relaxes and closes his eyes, savoring the moment.

Fretting about their morning argument, Jenny leaves numerous messages on Keith s cell phone. Calling his distraught wife, Keith announces he needs time to think, and he ll be back in a week. Staying with Joe and his wife, Marcy, Keith glimpses a life he longs for and discovers a truth he s never considered. Does he have the faith to embrace it? And what will Jenny think?

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