Ralph Waldo Emerson wrote that character is "cumulative."
"The force of character is the effect of the good decisions. As we display good character, we improve our character--that is to say that the results of our good decisions reinforce the behavior and make us even better people.
"The force of poor character is equally cumulative. That is when we make bad decisions...the impact of those decisions makes our character decline."
Those we've come to admire withstand the tests of time through hallmarks of personal and professional endeavors. They strive for consistent, not perfect, behavior such as keeping their word and telling the truth, both building blocks of one's reputation.
Self-aware and self-controlled. A great leader is first a leader in their own life. Those who sustain success do so out of a practiced personal and professional self-discipline. Underscore the word practiced.
Inexperienced leaders tend to borrow their success from others. Seasoned leaders own their success through learnings gleaned from the right experiences.
Those gifted with wisdom know what they don't know, a display of humility. Yet even with input from others, the final call usually rests with those at the top.
Do CEOs make mistakes? Of course. But they generally don't make the same mistakes twice.