How Jim Weber, CEO of Brooks Running Company, is staying the course

When Jim Weber became CEO of Brooks Running Company in 2001, he lived the brand, charting his turnaround strategy on his long runs. In 2017, treatment for esophageal cancer reduced his lung capacity and crushed his diet. Now Weber, 62, is in a training rhythm and helped Brooks hit $1 billion in worldwide revenue last year for the first time. Here’s how the author of the new book Running with a purpose keep everything moving. —Marty Munson

5:00 a.m.–5:30 a.m.

Wake up and make the coffee

I’m a morning person, and I cherish those quiet hours to focus and prepare for the day, catch up on emails, and absorb global, national, local and
running industry news. My wife and I love our first coffee by the window overlooking the Douglas fir trees around Lake Washington in Seattle.

8:30 am

Arrive and organize

I live by my schedule, and the individual and small group meetings really fill my cup. Previously, I was very focused on what I believed a CEO did: create plans, communicate, and lead execution. It took me a decade to realize that it’s really about leading people. Now I try to be present in every conversation. I remind myself to close my brain, open my ears, and orient myself to where that person is today and how they feel about the job, the direction, and the plan.

10:00 a.m.

live for the check

I’m old school in that I always carry a notebook and pen with me to every meeting. I write down the main takeaways and capture the items I need to take care of. I’ve gotten used to using the “checkbox approach” to physically check off a task. There’s something so satisfying about this pen-to-paper brand; it makes me feel organized and accomplished.

2:00 p.m.

Stick to the plan

It’s super important to me to have a plan. When I was diagnosed with cancer, the most disturbing moment was before I had a chance to do my homework and had no plan to fight it. Trusting our plan as a company to serve all runners and not lose focus or chase shiny things has gotten us through the pandemic without laying anyone off. I often refer to one of my favorite quotes: “The secret to success is constancy of purpose.”

4:00 p.m.–5:30 p.m.

Run, walk, lift

For many years, a long run was an absolute cure for me. After the treatment, I couldn’t run at all. I missed it so much. Now I do long walks or walks/runs and have worked my runs up to 12 minute intervals on the treadmill. I also get some of that “exhausted in a good way” feeling from lifting weights. I’m starting to feel that joy again that comes from exercising intensely.

9:00 p.m.–9:30 p.m.

Sleep . . . usually

Because I wake up early, I usually don’t have much trouble falling asleep. But while I’m still figuring out how to connect the dots at work, I wake up at 2 a.m. thinking about it. I love these kinds of puzzles, but if I’m tired of not sleeping, I put on my headphones and listen to a podcast, usually about history, music or business (like Pivot); sometimes I distract myself with pure entertainment, like Conan O’Brien needs a friend.

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