On The Shoulders Of Giants: The Vince Lombardi Leadership Model (part II)



char·ac·ter (definition)* – ˈkerəktər/ – noun

  1. 1. The mental and moral qualities distinctive to an individual.

“running away was not in keeping with her character”

in·teg·ri·ty (definition)* – inˈteɡrədē/ – noun

  1. 1. The quality of being honest and having strong moral principles; moral uprightness.

“he is known to be a man of integrity”

(* web definition)

All of the ingredients to Vince Lombardi’s success are important to the recipe, however as I stated in the introductory article, the two traits that really stood out and spoke to me are: Character and Integrity. All of his skill-sets build upon each other and are interconnected, but I believe these two traits (Character and Integrity) are the foundation of a great leader and prerequisites for success. As such I am going to try to focus on the individual components which make up these two traits, and how they molded Vince Lombardi’s career.  

Character and integrity are so closely related that, as per the definitions above, it is often hard to differentiate between the two. We could spend countless hours discussing the differences between the them, debating which is more important, but in our application I find it quite appropriate that they are so similar – because in my humble opinion, YOU CAN’T HAVE ONE WITHOUT THE OTHER! That being said, you will find that the remaining articles in this blog series will bleed into each other, just as these two traits are intertwined. Both character and integrity have to do directly with a person’s morals and the qualities they develop in themselves – let’s dive in!

First of all, “character is who you are. It is written, inscribed and engraved all over you.” (Vince Lombardi, Jr) But character can change, it can be developed and torn apart, and there are many aspects to building character in oneself. “[Character], combined with good habits and competence, creates the foundation for leadership.”

Vince Lombardi puts a lot of stock in self-motivation. How can you be an effective leader if you, yourself, have to be micromanaged and held accountable for the mundane, tedious daily tasks? Great leaders have great motivation: an internal drive to achieve, achieve, achieve- and part of that achievement comes from fulfilling the day-to-day challenges and tasks that either you, yourself, complete or that you delegate to someone you know and trust to complete them for you. Great leaders are people who come up with a challenging business plan and months later are still fulfilling that plans goals. A great leader inspires people to be honest with themselves, they motivate and inspire passion, conviction, and success, in those around them. If you cannot be a prime example and your own billboard for success, then you will never achieve your best. Great leaders achieve greatness. Vince Lombardi’s record is what set him apart from his peers. This is important to note, as there is a hidden lesson here: a benchmark by which we can be measured, is necessary to define success. If you can’t compare your achievements to something or someone else’s, then how will you know that you have done well? This principle is intrinsic in success, and is all around us – consider the saying “He succeeded where others had failed.” There is no greatness in a universe of one, even the best Solitaire player is only the best because he can play it faster and better than other card players can.

Furthermore, the greatest of leaders (and those most successful) not only achieve greatness comparatively, but they plant the seed, water it, maintain it, and grow greatness in others. Effective and successful leadership is an important tool when it comes to leaving a legacy of success. We are all on this earth for a finite period of time, therefore if you want your story to live on and to leave a true legacy that transcends a family photo album, you cannot let your success die with you. You must motivate and inspire others to become great leaders.

One of the greatest moral compasses, and a major component of both character and integrity, is found in truth. “[Truth] is constant and unchanging. What is right today was right yesterday and will be right tomorrow.” There is no error in truth and it is something that does not need translation or alteration. It just is. Find your truth. Find the truth in what you are doing. People are humbled and inspired by people who are successful, but also by people who are honest. Vince Lombardi was an honest man and he was a humble man. He gave credit to the people in his life who molded and shaped him and his character, and he was honest about all of his attributes and characteristics – not just the ones that contributed to his success, but also those which hindered it. We all have shortcomings, and things at which we are not the best, that’s why it is important to surround yourself with people who are not only honest with you and hold you accountable, but also those whose strengths exist in areas where yours fall short. Great people want to motivate and inspire greatness, but they also want to maintain their motivation and continue to do great things.

The cycle of success never ends and your character is always in development. When everything is going according to plan – and life is in autopilot – maintaining your character is simple, it’s at our best and worst moments in which our character faces jeopardy. There should never be a moment when you think to yourself “okay, my reputation is set- I don’t need to worry about that anymore”, because your character can always either be admired or questioned. CHARACTER KNOWS NO PERMANENCY! The same holds true for your successes: you should never achieve and then cross it off your list as something you “have accomplished”, doing so will only lead to a life spent looking in the rear view mirror.

This “never reaching the destination, always striving for better” attitude, is one of the reasons why sports teams and their coaches are so admired. They have to constantly invent, and reinvent themselves in order to find and sustain success. They have to compete, not only against opposing teams, but against their own best records. You are always in it, never on the other side of it. The best way is to remember that you are always attached to yourself. You are never on the outside, looking in at yourself. Your character, like your essence, is always active and always participating in your daily life. Choose to engage it!

There are so many important facets when it comes to building a successful character and aspiring to be people of integrity, both in business and in our personal lives, and this first blog (second if you count the intro last week) has barely scratched the surface. I hope you enjoyed reading this article and that it served as a good first chapter in our discussions on character and integrity. My next blog will focus more on being people of our word, and remembering how much weight your word carries. It can make or break you, in all aspects of life. But for now, I leave you with a lasting quote from Vince Lombardi:

“To create something, you must be something.”

Let’s remember that it all starts within us and works its way out – how it comes out, however, is up to us. Motivate, inspire, and be men and women of great character and integrity. That is all anyone can ever ask of you!


About Harout Keuroghlian

After working with, and for, many different real estate firms, it became apparent to Harout that there was a major disconnect between what consumers needed/wanted and the service that was being provided to them. It was upon this realization that Harout founded and opened JohnHart Real Estate; and as the CEO/Principal Broker he has continued to break from the norm and redefine real estate with an insatiable appetite to give his clients the service and attention they deserve.

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