How Great Leaders Inspire Teams to Innovate, Adapt and Overcome to Win as One!

My teammates and I were multiple time world champions in a crazy non-stop multi day sport called Adventure Racing, in which mixed gender teams of 4 people kayak, mountain bike, mountaineer, raft, run and hike for 5-10 days, across some of the most remote and inhospitable places on earth, using only a map and compass for navigation and racing NON STOP — so if we slept and when we slept was all part of our team’s strategy. To make things even more interesting, all team members must stay together for the entire race, within 50 yards of one another from start to finish, and if one of our team members quit or was injured and pulled from the race course, our entire team was disqualified.

One would think that the best and brightest endurance athletes would consistently win, but that couldn’t be further from the truth. What we discovered over the years in this sport is that the teams that consistently won were not made up of the strongest individual team MEMBERS, but the greatest teamMATES. The other thing that we discovered that separated the good teams from the Great teams was that the best of the best were always finding ways to Innovate, Adapt and Overcome. On successful teams, there is an ongoing drive to become more efficient, find a better/slicker route than their competitors, and to never ever let the rules (or even worse, the *assumed* rules) get in our way.


Innovation doesn’t necessarily have to be a huge paradigm shift or an industry changing “disruption.” Sometimes innovation means just finding a better way based upon your team’s strengths and talents, or consistently looking for creative ways to improve efficiency, lower costs, or increase output. Here are a few of my favorite success stories from some very innovative leaders and teammates… Download PDF


Conditions change … stuff happens. In fact, change is the only thing that stays the same. How we respond and adapt to changes is what ultimately makes the great ones great. Calculated risks are a little less risky and have a better chance of success with a great team around you for the journey! Download PDF


Seeing challenges vs. roadblocks opens up our creativity, agility, and ability to innovate. It’s also in those moment of challenge that the universe extends a hand and inspires us to rise to the occasion (and write an epic chapter in our own history book!). Download PDF