Five Ways to Build Your Character

In order to build character in anything, you need to first notice what you are struggling with. If you are struggling with humility, find resources that can help you learn how to be more humble and practice. If you struggle with self-discipline, set goals and work towards accomplishing them in the right way.

Taking steps to build your character is no simple task. People notice those who do what is right over what is easy. It can be easy to slack off when nobody is looking and difficult to do what is right on a consistent basis. Here are five ways to build your character:

  1. Be Humble.

    Humility is the beginning of wisdom. In order to build your character, you must be open to new ways.

  2. Live out your principles and values.

    Whether it’s “love others,” or ” do the right thing,” living by your principles will make decision making easier and your character more steadfast.

  3. Be intentional.

    Integrity does not happen by accident. We are all products of our thoughts and habits. Be intentional about filling your mind with good thoughts. Create a habit of this internalizes principles and breeds high character.

  4. Practice self discipline.

    Being of high character takes the ability to do what is right over what is easy.

  5. Be accountable.

    Surround yourself with people who have high expectations. Be responsible for yourself first. Lose the pride. Open yourself up to accountability. Let others push you to high character.

Continue practicing these five tips to build your character. Realize what your shortcomings are and find different ways to improve yourself. Remember a lack of trust is your biggest expense and everything of value is built on trust.


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Anonymity Dilutes Accountability | Trust in Leadership


A major way to increase accountability is to reduce anonymity. There is a reason that crime is less per capita in small towns; people know each other. They know what each other is up to, and they talk. They know who is at the bar and whose car is parked outside of “that person’s” house all night long. While gossip is certainly a negative; small town accountability can promote higher character. If people know they are being watched, they are more likely to act above reproach. This is one of the reasons people do more stupid things in Las Vegas while on a business trip.

Read More

Volatile & Vulnerable Global Context | Trust Trends 2014 Series

The three-speed global economy is volatile, and a deficiency of trusted leadership makes the entire world vulnerable.

The global context is marked by volatility and vulnerability. The global population is rising quickly, resources are growing scarce, new technology is causing constant disruption, employment rates are on the downswing, and tensions remain. The three-speed global economy is volatile, and it’s not a good time for a crisis of leadership. A deficiency of trusted leadership makes the entire world vulnerable.


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Set High Ethical Standards | Building Trust with Gen Y Series

Set and expect high ethical standards. (8 of 9 in series)

The 2013 Edelman Trust Barometer found that only 17.5% of people around the globe trust their business and government leaders.  The sad truth is that Gen Y expects ethical mishaps from many of their leaders and they’re probably personally influenced by grimy college experiences and superficial reality television shows. There is great opportunity for improvement, and Gen Y wants it.

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Leadership and Foresight from the Greatest Leader I Know | Trusted Leadership

What a treat to enjoy Thanksgiving at the farm with family! Pond hockey, broom ball, games, pecan and pumpkin pie (I much prefer pie over cake any day), fellowship, gratefulness, and even some time cutting wood for the stove. It is so good to work together and play together. Most of my five siblings and the seventeen grandchildren were able to gather and stay at the farm (all but my sister’s family, who live in Kenya and teach at a university there). Dad is 84 years old now and Mom is close behind.  They are an example of intentional leadership.

On Saturday, Dad invited all of the farm families that rent land from him over to the house for food, fellowship and a “program”. The “program” was intentional. He built our well over a thousand acre farm from nothing, buying his first 80 acres while in college just after serving in the Korean War. Why did he bring together family and renters and have a  “program”? To introduce his kids to the renters, to encourage open communication, to transfer leadership, and to provide a peaceful thoughtful process for when he is not around anymore. Dad is still in great health, but he is wise. His wisdom to give a clear plan for succession planning will take a whole lot of stress out or our future. Each of the kids have clear responsibilities and roles. It was significant that in front of everyone he gave leadership to his fifth child, the brother just older than me to be the point person for farm operations. While we know Dad loves all of us, Loren is the best person for that job. This public declaration of who the farm point person is gave clarity and empowered Loren to take that role even though he is not the oldest child, which may be a more traditional approach for that responsibility.

Two leadership lessons: First, think ahead and act ahead. Secondly, while it is true that empowerment occurs when a person is given the resources needed for a given task, it is equally important to empower leaders by publicly giving them the leadership role necessary to take on responsibility and have others quickly follow. This is a form of “Transfer Trust” – Since people trust you as leader, and you trust a given person to lead, when you publicly give the leadership role, others will more quickly follow that individual so that you are no longer needed in that role.

Get-a-ways Can Realign | Building Personal Trust



This fall has had me traveling plenty and sharing a message I am passionate about. However, I am also passionate about my family and faith. Last weekend I took my youngest daughter to Camp Shamineau for Father/Daughter weekend. Two weekends ago I went to a hermitage (Pacem Iin Terris) for a silent retreat. Both were powerful, fun, refreshing and realigning. It is so good to get away, step back, and realign with what is truly important. I believe I am called to my work and my family and my God. And it is worth getting away and checking alignment on all priorities from time to time. For work, consider getting away to an inspiring conference. For family, consider going to a marriage conference or on a camping trip. Getting away can lead to clarity on priorities and can also inspire one to take action on the little things that make the biggest difference in every area of life.

Forbes: The Most Valuable Business Commodity: Trust | Trust in Business


We own our failures, we learn from them, and we share them publicly so that others can learn from our failings as well, which has helped us to bounce back higher than before when we fall. We don’t believe in treading water. Employees who remain in one place (physically and emotionally) will grow weary.

– David K. Williams


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Do the Right Thing | Character

Character, does not come from reading a book or going to a conference. Character is being intentional and consistently working hard. In a world that is bent out of shape and lacking in trust, finding people who have a trustworthy character is hard to come by.

Building character comes down to asking yourself one simple question: Am I doing the right thing? Being honest over telling others what they want to hear; helping others in need instead of focusing on our own needs is what is necessary to be a leader with character.

Everyone wants to be liked, but being honest over being liked is more important. In the fall of 2012, Hurricane Sandy hammered the Eastern Seaboard days before the Presidential election. Governor Chris Christie of New Jersey, a member of the GOP, had a difficult decision to make: Accept the help from his party’s opponent, President Obama? Or take a path that would agree with his party?

Christie chose to help the people of New Jersey and their needs instead of focusing on his party’s political needs and agenda. He even went as far as to praise President Obama in his response to Hurricane Sandy.  Christie’s focus was outside of his interests. He was more concerned about the needs of the citizens of New Jersey than offending his party or his 2013 re-election run for governor. This action by Christie boosted his ratings among the Democratic Party, but ultimately showed the people of New Jersey that he was not just a politician, but a Governor who cares about his people and can be trusted.

When you think of honesty and helping others in need who is the first person to come to mind? Chris Christie is only one example of a person whose character was authentic. The most recent Gallup poll lists the top 5 most trusted professions:

  1. Nurses
  2. Pharmacists
  3. Medical Doctors
  4. Engineers
  5. Dentists

Nurses, pharmacists, doctors, engineers, and dentists all take care of the people they serve. They assure healthiness and safety.  Chris Christie proved his character and trustworthiness by choosing what was right over what was easy. 


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