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August 8, 2016


If you asked 100 people how important character is to build a great team I bet at least 95 would say it’s essential. After all, you can be the greatest leader or coach on the planet but if your team lacks character you will fail to reach your potential.

Yet, so often leaders and coaches attempt to build a team and organization by focusing on talent instead of character and this leads to challenging situations. We see it all the time in business and sports. A talented individual with character flaws makes a bad decision that affects the entire team and organization.

That’s why when building a team you want to build it with both talent and character. Don’t just settle for talent. Talent without character is like a race car with no steering wheel. It looks great from the outside and drives fast but without something guiding it, a crash is very likely.

Talent isn’t enough. Talent doesn’t last. It will only take you so far. Talent without character is also like an expensive car with no gas. It’s useless without the fuel that drives it. Character drives talent toward greatness. If you have a person who is humble, hungry, hard working, honest, dedicated, selfless, loyal, passionate, and accountable they will be the kind of person who develops their talent and makes the right decisions to benefit themselves and the team. Character guides and drives your team members to be their best and bring out the best in others.

The best leaders and organizations recruit high character people and continue to develop the character of their team members. They know that character education doesn’t end with character initiatives in elementary school. When you watch the news you realize that character education and reminders are something we can all use. We can all continue to work on becoming the best version of ourselves.

The Hard HatWhen I wrote The Hard Hat and interviewed George Boiardi’s teammates I was fascinated by this young man who influenced everyone in such a powerful way by the way he lived and treated others. As I learned more about him I realized his character had influenced mine and made me a better teammate. I identified 21 ways he was a great teammate (image below) and when you read them you’ll notice they all point to his character. I encourage you to pick three you want to focus on and implement them one at a time. I’m a better person because of George and I know you will be too. To read more about George and his story check out The Hard Hat. All my royalties go to his foundation.

- Jon

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