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How to Execute the Impossible Ryan McMullan shares his system for identifying hidden opportunities for cash flow no matter how extreme the operating conditions.

By Mike Koenigs Edited by Dan Bova

Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own.

Do you remember when the Space Shuttle Challenger blew up in 1986? Do you know why that happened? An O-ring failed because it wasn't designed to handle the cold, despite some of the smartest people on the planet working day and night to execute a perfect plan.

Hidden in plain sight is a $16 billion industry. It's beneath your feet, in every building you walk into, in every road you drive over, in the helicopters and planes that fly over your head, in every gas power and water line on the planet.

Successful brands like Disney, GE, Boeing, Nikon, Six Flags, Ford, Tesla, SpaceX… what do they all have in common? Something called non-destructive testing. It's a mission-critical element for almost every industry — including space, energy, buildings, bridges, roads, and cars — and without it, we would live in an incredibly unsafe environment.

The integrity of your infrastructure matters…and I don't just mean buildings and byways.

Leading in stressful times

If you are in a C-level position in an organization and frustrated by the inability to create enough leaders and teams that can innovate, spot opportunities, and capture them in good times and bad, this article will give you several core leadership principles you can use right now.

It's one thing to lead teams that execute their day-to-day tasks. It's another to lead a team to execute their day-to-day tasks in incredibly dangerous, high-stress environments, where a "win" means "everyone on the team came home today."

I recently interviewed Ryan McMullan, whose Alaska-based company Execute The Impossible has developed a unique system for identifying hidden opportunities that produce cash flow and then developing teams to innovate solutions to capture those opportunities, no matter how extreme the operating conditions.

Non-destructive testing

McMullan specializes in the Non-Destructive Testing (NDT) field, focusing on oil and gas in Alaskan pipelines. He worked his way up from the bottom and now works with C-level executives to build teams who are "ride-or-die" for their managers and can execute in any situation.

So why did McMullan decide to leave the hands-on fieldwork he had been doing and start this business? He saw endless ways for C-suite executives to align with on-the-ground teams and seize major industry opportunities hiding in plain sight.

It's a matter of having a prescriptive approach for assembling strike teams to go after those opportunities. McMullan's decade and a half of experience informed his systems and processes. Essentially, he goes out and assembles teams that can help companies get the money they need. Teams who've trained with McMullan can innovate on the ground and in the boardroom, executing the impossible.

What makes a great leader?

Two core leadership principles. First, never ask anyone to do something that you're not willing to do yourself. Your team has to know that the direction you're driving them is exactly the direction they are destined to go. They have to buy into you, and you do that by earning their respect with faith, courage, and enthusiasm.

The second leadership principle is inspiring others to be their best and seeing the greatness in them that maybe they don't even see in themselves. It's something that was instilled in McMullan during his years of playing elite hockey for great coaches who saw something in him and helped him pull it out. Today, working with his teams, McMullan turns rugged individualists into leaders who will lead teams themselves. Many leaders don't take a holistic, career-wide view of their employees the way McMullan does, and the difference is remarkable.

My conversation with McMullan reminded me of the importance of returning to leadership fundamentals in times of chaos, uncertainty or unmet expectations. "Soft" skills like integrity, emotional intelligence, and the willingness to invest sweat equity alongside your team are some of the most important principles for C-level executives to demonstrate — especially in industries that are dirty, dangerous, and where precision is key.

To learn more about working with Ryan McMullan, visit:

Watch the whole YouTube interview here:

Mike Koenigs

Entrepreneur Leadership Network® Contributor

Founder of Superpower Accelerator

Peter Diamandis calls Mike Koenigs An Arsonist of The Mind. He helps entrepreneurs create their “Next Act,” high net, low overhead, high impact, fewest moving parts, lifestyle-compatible businesses they love. Serial Entrepreneur with 5 exits, 17x bestselling author and the secret weapon of founders.

Want to be an Entrepreneur Leadership Network contributor? Apply now to join.

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