Lead on Purpose

Promoting Leadership Principles in Product Management

Winners Never Cheat


The first time I remember hearing the name Jon M. Huntsman was when I was a boy and he was talking with my father about leasing some land in the mountains of northern Utah. The deal never went through (I never did find out why), but Mr. Huntsman has sent my father a Christmas card every year since that time.

In his book Winners Never Cheat: Everyday Values We Learned as Children (But May Have Forgotten), Jon M. Huntsman writes about principles that build common people into leaders. The following are some of the values discussed in his book:

  • There are no moral shortcuts in the game of businessWinners Never Cheat
  • Attributes of true leaders include integrity, courage, vision, commitment, empathy, humility and confidence; the greater these attributes the stronger the leadership
  • Leadership is a privilege
  • Leadership is dictated by moral decisions; north is always north; south is always south
  • When a handshake is given, it must be honored—at all costs; your word is your greatest asset; honesty is your best virtue
  • In every walk of life we must believe we can succeed, or by definition we already have failed
  • It is courage, and not the title, that separates genuine leaders from the pretenders
  • Get mad, not even
  • Everyone wants to be valued, to know they count
  • Two rules in the Huntsman family: 1) Check your ego at the door. 2) Be a cheerleader for each other
  • All companies—public or private—must create a culture in which employees come first and are treated royally…they always return the favor
  • Giving enriches one’s heart and soul—and it’s contagious
  • Make the underpinnings of your life a string of f-words (at least, phonetically): family, faith, fortitude, fairness, fidelity, friendship and philanthropy

Mr. Huntsman demonstrates how living by these values lifts people to a higher level. As we help others and lift them up, we are lifted up in the process. His book inspires me to be a better man and a better leader. And while it’s obvious that Jon Huntsman’s life has been built around the principles he promotes in his book, he does it in a way that is not self-serving or arrogant. His book is great in so many ways.

What are your thoughts about this book? What other books have you read that teach principles of leadership? I’d appreciate you leaving a comment!

2 thoughts on “Winners Never Cheat

  1. Nice list of recommended reading you have going here Michael. Like them all. How appropriate that you’ve got Winners Never Cheat posted with all that is going on in the news and political landscape the past month or so. The link between this and Good to Great are really starting to take hold. There is a new definition of leadership emerging and it starts with passing the integrity test. Being tuned in isn’t bad either but then I’m a little biased.


  2. Phil, I thought about the political landscape too as I was writing about this book. The landscape would no-doubt be much different if we as citizens required people running for office to pass the integrity test. We would have more leaders and far fewer celebrities.

    Speaking of being tuned in, I’m looking forward to reading/studying Tuned In and writing about it.

    Thanks for your input.

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