Goal-setting is a way of life.  We set goals for our businesses, our families and our personal lives. Sometimes, those goals seem unreachable or even outrageous.  Our business goals are measurable and have a time-frame, and take on familiar (and unfamiliar elements), so they often look like "increase sales by 25% per year," or "improve margins by 5% this quarter."  The more outrageous the goal, the more concern we have about achieving it.  

Doug McConnell is a successful investment banker, and has spent a career setting and achieving some pretty lofty business goals.  He took many of those business lessons and applied them to another outrageous goal; swimming the English Channel. Unlike the business goals, he had no idea how to achieve it, but applied the same processes and methodology of steps he had learned as an investment banker to a whole new kind of project.  Swimming the English Channel worked so well, the A Long Swim team continued to set goals and take on other, equally unimaginable marathon swimming challenges.  

Doug tells a gripping story of how, in the two years leading up to A Long Swim, he assembled and trained a team to achieve that goal.  In the process, Doug employed some powerful principles that apply to every successful businessperson:

  • Recruiting and motivating a team
  • Building and buying in to a vision
  • Preparation and training
  • Dealing with setbacks and surprises
  • Achieving and celebrating success
  • Enjoying the humor along the way

His team was unusual in that it consisted of his wife and four children, aged 13 to 24 – not the “MBAs of Open Water Swimming,” who most Channel aspirants tap, but ordinary people who were willing to embrace an outrageous goal.

Doug shares a unique example of how an effective team can deliver something bigger than the sum of its individual parts, and how to guard against team dysfunction.  He will also reveal how a cornerstone of the overall goal was the effort to support a bigger cause: to raise money for research on ALS, also known as Lou Gehrig’s disease, and from which A Long Swim borrowed its name.

Through story-telling and anecdotes, Doug will take the audience through elements of all of the Triple Crown swims.  They will:

  • Shiver when they hear about 63º water
  • Cringe watching five-foot waves wash over him
  • Marvel at the discipline required to count 40,538 strokes
  • Hope (as he did) that they won’t encounter stinging jellyfish
  • Wonder if a pre-swim meal of greasy fish and chips was a good idea
  • Reflect on swims lasting 10, 12 or 14 hours

The audience will take away three important lessons that can be applied to every business setting:

  • How to take advantage of the “Arrogance of Ignorance”
  • How to maximize their “R.O.L.:” (Return on Luck)
  • How to create and sustain a team culture in which every member shares the goal of “The Speedo Guy”

Invite Doug to speak at your next corporate function or industry meeting.  It is a riveting story unlike any your organization has every heard.