(MoneyWatch) When Warren Buffett looks for companies to buy, he looks for two qualities in the CEO: energy and integrity. The benefits of energy are obvious -- every entrepreneur and leader needs stamina to keep going through tough times and take advantage of good ones. What's more intriguing about Buffett's second requirement -- integrity -- is the way he defines it: The ability to say "no."
One company Buffett bought was Pampered Chef, founded by Doris Christopher. She said "no" to runaway growth when the food products marketing company was starting to take off because Christopher felt the business needed a year of consolidation before taking on any more people or customers. That takes nerve.
But I wonder how many corporate executives display this kind of integrity. If you're asked to sell a product you think isn't quite good enough, do you dare to refuse? If you're asked to lead a project that is underfunded and understaffed, do you accept the challenge or point out that it's doomed?