The Integritor

achiever hiring leadership small business soft skills

In the late nineties, during my time leading at Bachrach men’s clothing, we had a focus on high-quality hiring. We worked with Jerry Bell of the Bell Institute to learn more about the ideal candidate—a person he refers to as an Achiever. In fact, “Achievers” has become the trademarked name of a program produced by the Bell Group to “help you lead like the best in the world with a deep understanding of your personal strengths, weaknesses, and motivations.” Inspired by this model and with his help, we developed our own custom language to define our view of the Achiever, the ideal prospect for us to hire. 

Bell’s premise—which I love—is that an Achiever is someone with an accumulation of six competencies, which we’ve been discussing these past 6 weeks:

  1. Creator (creativity used in problem-solving)
  2. Survivor (gets up quickly after failure)
  3. Producer (gets today’s work done today)
  4. Team Builder (takes responsibility for the team)
  5. Entrepreneur (calculated risk-taker)
  6. Integritor (read on for more!) 

First of all, let me make sure you are reading the word correctly. I didn’t misspell Integrator. That’s a different word/concept altogether. This competency is Integritor. I actually had to tell my word processor to learn the word. It’s not in your dictionary. But it’s based on a root word you know: integrity. So, to pronounce it, you make your way through the first three syllables of integrity (in-teg-ri) and then add “tor” as the last syllable (In-teg-ri-tor).

One of the competencies we developed at Bachrach was this last concept: the Integritor. We identified this high-integrity leader as someone who is courageous, bold, honest, and becoming more so and someone who tells the truth and tells it well. We felt that a person could have all the other competencies, but if they weren’t an Integritor, they weren’t a fit for our leadership culture. 

Since this initiative, I’ve looked for this trait in subsequent hiring projects, and I’ve worked on these attributes in my own personal development. I’ve come to believe this Integritor is my ideal description of a leader.

I often joke about this made-up word, Integritor. “I’d like to introduce you to the next Marvel Universe superhero, INTEGRITOR!” But honestly, the joke isn’t far-fetched. This leader is a superhero—capable of effectively leading a team, inspiring their followers, achieving measurable results, and building lasting greatness around a meaningful vision. 

If you lead a team and want to supercharge your results and effectiveness, you should seek to become an Integritor. An Integritor is courageous and bold. 

So what gives these leaders courage and boldness? I’d say it’s less about a personality style and more about their singular focus on an inspiring vision. I’ve watched as many “leaders” come and go through the workplace, driven only by their personal financial or ambitious motivations. I’m inspired, however, by leaders who are compelled by a clear and challenging vision. 

So what’s yours? What is it in your life that’s worth boldness? What potential future gives you the courage to fight, to sacrifice, to elevate your performance? You’ll need to start there if you want to be an Integritor.

An Integritor is honest, and becoming more so. Being honest is probably the most difficult choice one can make. All of us can look back on times when we didn’t make the honest choice and can see the pain, aggravation, or disasters it caused. But in the context of leadership, when working with a team, honesty must be the tough choice that you select again and again. That honesty frames our training and coaching, our feedback, and our commitment to measure results. 

And of course, honesty is the foundation of a Culture of Accountability. It all begins with your choice to be honest. 

Finally—and my favorite—the perfect description of an Integritor is: “tells the truth, and tells it well.” Lots of people can tell the truth: 

  •  “You’re not very good at math.”
  •  “I don’t like this food.”
  •  “You’ll never make it as an actor.”
  •  “That dress was a terrible choice.”

But how do you tell the truth, well? This requires your emotional intelligence. This is where you show a capacity for context. This is where you engage all of your patience, personal awareness, sensitivity, and courage in order to say what needs to be said—but to say it in a way that preserves the relationship. 

How do you find this attribute in your hiring candidates? Look for a history of these things:


-They are not shy about sharing their failures with you (because they’ve likely overcome them—or at least come to terms with them).

 -They have been successful at offering feedback in difficult relationships.

 -They look you in the eye.

 -They are seeking a win-win.

 -They speak in details not just philosophy.


Of all the six attributes of the Achiever this one is my deal-breaker, and the toughest one to “train”. Do your best to hire this one: The Integritor. 


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