The sport of management


It all became clear on mile 18 of the run at Ironman Lake Placid.

My day began at 7 a.m. with a raucous swim with 2,600 colleagues, all determined to hear those words ‘you are an Ironman’ some 9 to 16 hours later. Then, on to a 112 mile bike ride through the majestic Adirondack mountains…emphasis on mountains.

It was with 18 of 26 miles behind me on the grand finale – a marathon – that I called an emergency meeting of my management team. It was do or die time. We needed to be on the same page or this thing faced the real risk of going south.

We entered the executive boardroom. At the table, my legs, lower back, and feet. Endurance and strength had checked in as had common sense and spirit, arguing as usual.

The meeting came to order and after a full systems check negotiations began. Body parts okayed a speed increase, but only to that electric pole. Endurance agreed to chill between poles, then strength chimed in – supplies were limited, but available. It would have to be strategically rationed.

Common sense appealed to stop and regroup. Spirit then gave a rousing speech about family (waiting at the finish line) and something about freedom and America.

Once again, common sense was voted down.

From that point to a triumphant finish I managed myself forward. Later, I would reflect on the incredible similarities between being an endurance athlete and a manager. The parallels are endless, so, here we are, about to explore management as sport and becoming a better manager by training like an athlete.

Thank you for joining me on this journey. Let’s have some fun!



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