The following has been contributed by a B4Ter working in the Arab world.

I recently came across the following Warren Buffet quote and thought I should try to find a way to write something about it, just for the sake of exposure to the quote itself.

“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.” – Warren Buffett

Mr. Buffett is really on to something here. When adding to your board of directors, when hiring a manager, or when hiring an employee of any kind, without integrity, the foundation of your organization will collapse. Our Kingdom – the Kingdom of God – is one of the transformation. Jesus made His hiring priorities clear: he hired incompetent people who He knew would be transformed into world changers (with the purposeful exception of Judas).

Competence is very important, but integrity is more. Competence can be trained and gained, but integrity is much harder to work without. Because our Kingdom is transformational, it is the trust factor that is so important. God will do His incredible work in us and will make things happen around us, even when we don’t have the competencies required.

Let me finish by clarifying: competence is critical to success. But what often happens is we find incredible competence we feel we cannot do without and forget the value of integrity. By adding the perpetrators behind the Enron scandal to your organization, you will get an incredibly innovative and entrepreneurial group of people who will awe you with their creativity and productivity, but eventually the “value” they created will be found out for what it really was the whole time and the company will collapse under the weight of its falsities.

Find both: integrity and competence. But where you must exchange a little of one for a little of the other, take the increased integrity and train for competence. Of course, ideally, you will not have to choose!



PATRICK LAI and his family have worked in SE Asia for over 37 years. His experience in doing business with Jesus has brought him to understand the meaning of work and worship in the marketplace. He started 14 businesses in four countries, six of which are still operating. Patrick and his wife, May, mentor and coach businesspeople working where there are few or no Christians. Check out Patrick’s latest book, Workship, now available in paperback and e-book.