Character. It’s Who You Are. It’s What You Stand For! By Bob Burg

Bob Burg

“Those are my principles. And, if you don’t like them…I have others.”~Groucho Marx

The above line by one of our greatest comedians is, unfortunately, a bit too real. While we tend to see this manifest most commonly in politicians who will say just about anything in order to get elected or re-elected, far too many in business do the same thing.

A person’s character is their defining quality. Perhaps, more accurately, it’s the sum total of all their qualities. It’s…who they are.

It can accurately be said that when you really understand a person’s character, you can predict their major decisions.

Why? Because you know where they stand. And you know that they stand for something! They are predictable. In this case, a good predictable.

While the media gives significantly greater attention to those whose principles are along the line of Groucho’s above persona, fortunately, there are many more whose principles — based on high character — are indeed immutable.

One such man I’m reminded of is John Allison.

Mr. Allison, the former Chairman & CEO of Branch Banking & Trust Company (BB&T), grew one of the most profitable banks in the country. It was also one of the few banks that did not involve itself in sub-prime lending in the decade leading up to the 2008 financial meltdown, writing only conventional mortgages.

Mr. Allison understood the unholy alliance between Washington, DC, and many of the banks. And, being that this was contrary to the principles upon which he and his bank stood (making their profit through providing value to their clients), the decision to forgo the countless “easy millions” being made by his peers was a no-brainer.

Of course, when things came crashing down, his bank was left standing tall; both in profitability and in reputation.

Mr. Allison was a character-based leader. As a result his team members gladly followed him, as did his customers…..


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Bob Burg
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