There are countless resilience stories in sport, but one that I particularly enjoy occurred in the mid 1960s when Ford set out to build a car that could rival Ferrari at the prestigious 24 Hours of Le Mans endurance race in France. Employed by Henry Ford II, automotive designer Carroll Shelby and driver Ken Miles set out to build the Ford GT40.
Chronicled in the 2019 blockbuster Ford v. Ferrari, Ford spent multiple years perfecting the car. From brake failures to a faulty engine, numerous roadblocks popped up along the way. In its first race on the pavement in 1965, not a single Ford vehicle finished the race. But one year of craftsmanship later, Ford captured its first Le Mans victory and subsequently captured four straight victories, toppling the previously dominant Ferrari team.
So, for D CEO’s March issue, we reminisced with three executives on what business challenges stood in their way toward stardom. Here they share how they overcame each difficulty:
CEO, Bonton Farms
“I’d have to say it was navigating through a period of time when several members of my leadership team began to see our future differently than I did. It felt like an attempted coup, as different voices began to sow confusion among our team and in the market. Leadership during times when some of those closest to you may no longer believe in your vision is incredibly challenging. I hope that I never experience that again.”
Executive Vice President, Colliers International
“My toughest challenge has been growing beyond the role that others see me in. I’ve overcome this multiple times: in 2006, when I pivoted from being a property manager to a broker; in 2014, when I moved my market focus from Atlanta to Dallas; and most recently, in 2020, when I changed firms to lead my own team. In each instance, the challenge was the same—believing that taking on these risks would allow me to achieve greater things.”
Scott A. Wood
Co-Founder and CEO, True North Advisors
“We have been positioned somewhat defensively for about two years now. That doesn’t mean we’ve been on the sidelines; we’ve remained fully invested but have strategically rotated to areas where we thought the markets offered better opportunities ahead, such as direct private investments and other alternatives. We also created a way for clients to stay fully allocated and invested while providing a layer of protection or insurance, which is unique.”