Tony Kenney is a bit of a history buff. And perhaps no leader inspires him more than British Prime Minister Winston Churchill.
"When you look at him as a leader, and the odds he faced, and what he did to hold his country together, he really kind of transformed the way the world is today,” says Tony.
One quote sometimes attributed to Churchill is, “It’s not the strongest or the smartest that succeed; it’s those who are willing to work the hardest.” It is one that Tony identifies with as he considers his nearly 40-year career.
“I’m not the smartest person in this business, and not the strongest in terms of what I could achieve,” he says. “But … if someone asked me what’s one of the top things I attribute my success to, it’s my willingness to work hard. It goes back to my willingness to move or go where I was asked to.”
Another hero of history with leadership lessons to give: Gen. Norman Schwarzkopf, who led 35 different countries as part of the coalition forces in the Persian Gulf War. “His theory on leadership is pretty simple,” says Tony. “It’s about competence and character. If you only have to have one, it better be character.”
Schwarzkopf also advised to protect your integrity, which takes years to build but seconds to destroy. “If you’re given choices on what to do—do the right thing,” says Tony. “There are no shortcuts around that.”