Gates

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Integrity and ethics: The newspaper test

When asked how he instilled ethical leadership in his managers, Warren Buffett replied that he has all the money he needs and can afford to lose it on a bad decision. What he, or his companies, can’t afford to lose is their reputation. He has two reputation tests: the legal standards test and the newspaper test. Buffett went on to say that if an article appeared in a local newspaper about a decision and action you made, and your family and friends read the article, would you feel good about it?

A reputation is built, tested and reinforced over time. Integrity and ethics are cornerstones of a solid, positive reputation. Integrity and ethics are based on trust, honesty, sincerity and steadfastly adhering to high moral standards and principles.

Getting advice

When asked whom they go to when they need advice, Buffett replied, “I look in the mirror. The nature of what I do requires that I think independently.” He explained that he ultimately is responsible for his decisions and actions, and that he needs to determine if a decision is consistent with what he believes. Bill Gates noted that his strengths are on the technical side of the business. He said he turns to people who provide him information in areas that are not his strength to cover for his blind spots. He goes to his partner, father and wife.

Influential power

When asked how people can move up the ranks of management, Gates and Buffett both spoke of hiring the right people, supporting their success and letting them do their jobs. Gates looks for managers who have strategic thinking skills, technical skills and people skills. If they are not good at one of the three, they need to tap others with the skill. Buffett spoke of how the unusual people stand out with their energy, quality of their ideas, and ability to influence those around them. Bringing the best out of…...

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