The current political environment is filled with statements containing half truths, exaggerations, and down right lies. In light of this it may be worthwhile to go back and reflect upon the number one factor that underlies success according to my survey of America’s most economically productive people: integrity. According to Webster’s, integrity implies an incorruptible soundness of moral character, especially as displayed in fulfilling trusts. Interestingly it uses the following example: “elect men of integrity.”
As I stated in The Millionaire Mind,
Most economically successful people don’t believe that integrity, or lack of it, can be averaged into one overall grade point average. . . . . . . integrity is a different part of life’s curriculum. It’s a pass/fail course. If you lack integrity, most millionaires will tell you that you will not and should not graduate to economic success.
Nearly all self made millionaires in one way or another are leaders. If you want to succeed as a leader, you must have integrity. Integrity is important beyond the economic arena. It’s a critical building block, a foundation stone for effective leadership in general. An excellent example of this relates to one of America’s great military leaders, George C. Marshall, who “shaped World War II more than any other American in uniform.” See J.W. Jordan’s book review of Marshall and His Generals by Stephen R. Taaffe.
Marshall, in essence, was America’s CEO in charge of its military efforts in WWII. Among his many tasks was to select the generals who headed up each and every theatre of operation.
. . . Marshall’s record for picking winners was remarkable. . . . . . . all met Marshall’s strict criteria: [#1 was] integrity. . . .
Notable were such names as MacArthur, Eisenhower, Stilwell, and Patton. Marshall believed in what Patton often said: “wars may be fought with weapons but they are won by men.” Those selected by Marshall were only men with integrity and other important attributes such as “initiative, a sense of duty, a can do attitude, aggressiveness and drive.”
As chief of staff, Marshall was all about objective criteria in selecting talent. Patronage, politics and related rhetoric had no place in winning a world war. As he once stated: “the man has to have it or he doesn’t stay and we will listen to no excuses of any kind.”
Our currernt political leaders and those vying for political office might benefit from studying Marshall’s #1 criterion for leadership.