PPP 417 | Secrets to Building Your Character (and the Character of Your Team), with Mary Crossan and Bill Furlong

Total Duration 56:03

Earn free PDUs while learning how to develop character Download episode 417


In this episode, Andy talks with Dr. Mary Crossan and Bill Furlong to discuss their book, The Character Compass. They explore the concept of character and its importance in leadership. Mary and Bill debunk myths and misconceptions about character and highlight the interconnected nature of its dimensions.

The framework they introduce consists of 11 dimensions of character, including integrity, courage, humility, and temperance. They emphasize the importance of developing these dimensions to enhance leadership effectiveness and well-being. The conversation also touches on the role of character in decision-making and the need for character development in organizations. The conversation concludes with a discussion on how parents can cultivate a culture of character in their families.

Do you want a better understanding of what character actually is? And how to develop it for you and your team? This episode is for you!

Sound Bites

  • "Character is actually built in these tiny decisions that we make every single day. And then it's more revealed than it is built in those moments of challenge."
  • "We need leaders of character, whether it's leaders of countries or organizations or project teams. Leaders of character stand out and make a difference."
  • "People think character is the same as personality. Character is really around observable habits of behavior."
  • "Anyone can learn this. Anyone can change those habits of behavior. You are not doomed to your circumstances and you are not doomed to your personality."
  • "Who have I become while I've been busy doing? Who am I becoming while I'm busy doing? Who do I want to become while I'm busy doing?"
  • "I have to find ways to be in a position where I can feel vulnerable and I can experience what it's like to make mistakes."


  • 00:00 Introduction
  • 01:28 Start of Interview
  • 01:39 What are some ways you saw character demonstrated in your family?
  • 05:25 Myths and misconceptions about character
  • 10:35 What is leader character?
  • 12:42 Could be when instead of if someone has character?
  • 17:17 Introducing the character framework
  • 23:07 Can you have too much of an element of character?
  • 30:01 Is nervousness before a presentation a matter of courage?
  • 33:25 Finding our own Achilles heel with character
  • 38:52 The power of micro-moments
  • 44:39 Developing character at home
  • 36:28 Three questions to ask
  • 49:45 Interview Wrap Up
  • 50:26 Andy Comments After the Interview
  • 53:38 Outtakes

Learn More

You can learn more about Mary at Ivey.UWO.ca.

If you’d like more on this subject, check out Episode 139, with Fred Keil about his book on leadership and character.

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Thank you for joining me for this episode of The People and Projects Podcast!

Talent Triangle: Power Skills


The following music was used for this episode:

Music: Imagefilm 034 by Sascha Ende
Free download: https://filmmusic.io/song/2935-imagefilm-034
License (CC BY 4.0): https://filmmusic.io/standard-license

Music: Synthiemania by Frank Schroter
License (CC BY 4.0): https://filmmusic.io/standard-license

PDU Categories: Power Skills

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