Endurance introduction

Brunswick CEO Susan Gilchrist says, "Survival and success are no accident: they require planning"

No sport in the world has grown faster in recent decades than triathlon, and fueling that explosion have been business executives.

When these men and women talk about triathlon, it is often with a note of disbelief. The accomplishment at first did not seem possible. Many admit that their doubt persisted through months of training, through every mile of the event itself, vanishing only on the other side of the finish line.

Is it any wonder the experience is appealing to corporate leaders? To outsiders, business triumphs may appear inevitable. But privately, many executives acknowledge that the threat of failure haunted them at every step. Did they prevail because of rare talent and intelligence? Or are winners also distinguished by an ability to endure?

“Grit is the thing that matters,” Andrew Messick, Chief Executive of World Triathlon, owner of the Ironman brand, argues in these pages.

In this Brunswick Review, a chorus of esteemed voices sings the praises of endurance. Silicon Valley leaders embrace and preach the ancient grit-loving philosophy of Stoicism. Prominent French psychiatrist Boris Cyrulnik, a Holocaust survivor and scholar of resilience, offers companies tips on how to thrive amid adversity. Facebook executive Craig Mullaney – a battle-tested former US Army Ranger – argues that top executives shouldn’t obsess about “going viral.” His recommendation for social media success: slow and steady.

If launching a company sounds like an endurance event, imagine doing it while performing as a world-class professional football player – an achievement Mathieu Flamini describes in this edition.

Brunswick’s own Scott Durant recounts how he managed to persevere as a rower even after his primary training partner – his twin brother – fell victim to a career-ending injury. Scott’s reward: an Olympic gold medal.

True to her unusual title, Virgin Sport’s Chief Exercise Officer Mary Wittenberg says strenuous exercise is more than just a metaphor for endurance. “Being fit makes a huge difference in your endurance and resilience in the workplace,” says Wittenberg, herself a former elite marathoner.

It’s no accident that Brunswick Group is thinking about endurance: 2017 marks the firm’s 30th year. For us, the occasion primarily represents an opportunity to thank our clients for the privilege of helping them endure every manner of challenge in pursuit of their goals.

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