The traits that triathletes have and need are basically key contributors to success as a CEO. While triathletes and CEOs come from different backgrounds, range greatly in age and often take completely different approaches to training and working, they are all cut from the same cloth. That’s why there’s an instant camaraderie among us as we are all perceived to be crazy. The idiosyncrasies that justify jumping out of bed at 4 a.m. to fit a swim in are the same as the ones who drive the relentless pursuit of the right new hire, system, customer.

It’s the week that we celebrate small business, but something about it is bittersweet for me. Business owners are expressing more confidence in the economy. Small businesses are creating jobs. And we are even getting credit from Federal Reserve Chair Janet Yellen who said it was our small businesses that powered our recovery after the Great Recession. A recent Gallop Poll showed that the trend is positive for current small business owners.

If you want a good demonstration in how not to lead served up in a convenient, 43-minute package, just watch an episode of Gordon Ramsay's Hell's Kitchen.

It seems that the constant push and pull between large and small businesses is alive and well. I call it a love-hate relationship. I was quoting some recent job figures during a speech and noted that small business created 86% of all new jobs in the country in March when the representative of a large business rolled his eyes. I didn’t even need to ask why. I knew the reason.

The word “innovation” is such a constant in meetings around the world that it has almost become a contender for “corporate buzzword bingo.” Although it is often over-used it is not always well understood in terms of how it should be implemented into organizational culture, or even how it might be best used as a frame for evaluating business strategy.



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