Exploring the Question of Character vs Competence

If there is any formula for sustainable, holistic (personal and professional) success, it is this:

Character + Competence = Success

As a coach who specializes in working with C-suite executives and their spouses, I focus primarily on character.

Why? Two reasons:

  • Reason One: Character is essential to sustainable, holistic growth and success. You can get by on competence alone for only so long. Without character, you begin to suffer from a lack of balance in your life. You become one-dimensional — all work and no play. Relationships both at work and outside work, which make you successful and make life enjoyable and fulfilling, begin to suffer. You expend more and more time and energy solving problems than taking advantage of opportunities and enjoying the fruits of your labor. As a result, you fall short of achieving success in all areas of your life, and you find life more frustrating and less satisfying. In addition, your level of professional success is likely to plateau and may even decline.
  • Reason Two: Competence among professionals is assumed, while character is often neglected. When I say, “competence is assumed,” I mean competence is expected and necessary to secure a given position. You won’t make the first cut if you don’t have the expertise to fill the position. When I say, “character is often neglected,” I am highlighting the fact that professionals often invest sufficiently in developing the knowledge and skills required for a certain position, but spend little, if any, time and other resources developing their character. They often do not even know how to go about doing so.

In this post, I explain why I spend far more time with my clients exploring and developing character than exploring and developing competence, but first, let’s agree on a definition of “character.” Continue reading…