Character: The Ultimate Success Factor demonstrates how character, expressed through perspective, action, and resilience, determines success. Based on the personal, corporate and military experiences of Dr. J. Phillip (“Jack”) London, a successful defense industry executive, as well as many other real-life examples, the book presents the time-tested lessons behind character-driven success.
The book insightfully explains that while a variety of factors form our abilities and influence the events in our lives, character is the key to long-term success. Character is a unique set of moral and ethical qualities that define what you believe in, what you stand for, and what you expect of yourself and others. London asserts that how you act on these qualities – your statement of character – will determine how far you will go; if you succeed or fail. Success is also uniquely defined as acting with honesty and integrity, performing to the best of your ability, and appreciating the people who helped you achieve your goals. Enduring success is never gained by unethical or unlawful means, for dubious purposes, or at great moral cost.
The development of character-driven success is unveiled in 17 lessons grouped into five progressive sections. Based on the architectural wedge-shaped piece at the summit of an arch that holds the other pieces in place, the first section is titled Keystone: Character. Expressions of character, from personal behavior to the role and influence of others’, form perspectives about success. The second section called Blueprint: Vision, adds the next step of deciding what you want to achieve. While taking the strategic steps of setting out the big picture, character is also developed by using judgment, dealing with change and the unexpected, and identifying unique opportunities to be distinctive. Structure: Action, the third section, focuses on the frequent challenges in achieving goals, such as struggles with taking the first steps, decisiveness, self-expression, and taking the lead. The value of our efforts is examined in the fourth section called Appraise: Resolve. Every so often we need, or are forced, to stop and assess things. Sometimes, it’s assessing a risk. Other times, it’s assessing whether to go any further. The final section, Build: Momentum, discusses the most important lesson; that we are building ourselves and our future, because we are all a work in progress. This is success in its most genuine and most realistic form.