Here are the three key traits the Oracle of Omaha looks for when building strong, successful teams.
By Priya Prakasan
Warren Edward Buffett is an American business magnet and investor known the world over for his business and investment advice. The chairman and CEO of Berkshire Hathaway has helped the company to expand into one of the largest and most successful conglomerates. He’s the third wealthiest man in the world with a net with of USD 84 billion as of June 2018. The avid philanthropist writes an annual letter to Berkshire Hathaway shareholders. It’s a highly anticipated event on the business calendar and attracts a lot of coverage thanks to his wit and wisdom. A few years ago he gave a great piece of advice on what it takes to run a successful business and what leaders should look for in a potential candidate.
This is the obvious one. In the highly competitive world we live in, leaders need to hire those who have a strong mental capacity of the job. But Warren Buffet clarifies that intellectual intelligence isn’t the only defining factor to being successful. Rationality and emotional stability are also required to be able to think independently and make decisions. Simply having a high IQ coupled with talent does not guarantee success.
Another hard characteristic the notable philanthropist looks for when hiring is energy. Buffett isn’t talking about someone possessing physical energy, but rather someone who doesn’t rest on their laurels. This is a person who displays initiative or takes charge of a situation. It’s a desire to make things happen. This is an important factor for Buffett in considering a candidate’s competency.
This for Buffett is the criterion that outweighs all the rest. As he says, “We look for three things when we hire people. We look for intelligence, we look for initiative or energy, and we look for integrity. And if they don’t have the latter, the first two will kill you, because if you’re going to get someone without integrity, you want them lazy and dumb.” If the person has integrity you can rely on them to do the right thing because their words always match their actions, and you can count on them to follow through. A person with integrity will also be brutally honest and firm in keeping their promises. This is why Buffett believes is the most important quality to look for when hiring your future managers.
Photograph: USA White House/Creative Commons