Intelligence, Energy and Integrity

It’s been widely recorded that Warren Buffet quoted this: “You’re looking for three things, generally, in a person: intelligence, energy and integrity. And if they don’t have the last one, don’t even bother with the first two.”

I’ve read other articles that said “integrity, intelligence and energy” and others that had some other order of the three.

Regardless, “integrity” is the point. Marcel Schwantes pointed out, in his article “Warren Buffett Says If You Hire People on Intelligence but They Lack This Other Trait, Don’t Bother” (, that “When you hire someone with integrity, it’s the central pillar that holds all three together or the structure collapses.”

Integrity is so important, that I’ve made that one of my pillars of my management style. And, I know that others agree. It’s what’s made me a successful manager. Not only is it instilled in me, but I look for that when hiring people.

Author Tom Searcy explains it like this in his article at

  • Hire someone with high energy, high intelligence, but low integrity and you’ll get a smart, fast-moving thief.
  • Hire someone with high intelligence, high integrity, but low energy and you’ll get a shopkeeper, not an engine of growth.
  • Hire someone with high energy, high integrity, but low intelligence and you’ll get a strong functionary, but not a great problem solver or visionary.