Intelligence, energy, and integrity

In Working Together, Michael Eisner and Aaron Cohen share the traits that Warren Buffett looks for in a partner:

“You’re looking for three things, generally, in a person,” says Buffett. “Intelligence, energy, and integrity. And if they don’t have the last one, don’t even bother with the first two. I tell them, ‘Everyone here has the intelligence and energy—you wouldn’t be here otherwise. But the integrity is up to you. You weren’t born with it, you can’t learn it in school.”

All three of these qualities are the sum of the choices you make. While Warren rightly focuses on integrity as a dealbreaker because he was discussing the qualities with students who clearly had intelligence and energy, all three of these qualities are critical. For example, intelligence and integrity, without energy, isn’t going to go very far.

Pat Riley understood this when he made his famous guarantee that his championship team would repeat. This tactic was an accountability tool; it was Pat’s way of motivating his team to keep the celebrations short; they’d need to get back to training and practice if they wanted to attain the rare achievement of repeating a championship (and avoid the public embarrassment of failing).

You can regulate your energy—and pressure—by managing what you expect of yourself, and what others expect of you.

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