Back from the brink

Bruce Merrick tells how to survive turbulent times

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in Small Business Tax Deduction Strategies

Like most CEOs, Bruce Merrick doesn’t mince words. Yet his bluntness is more disarming than offensive.

Merrick runs Dant Clayton, a stadium-seating manufacturer in Louisville, Ky. He’s had his ups and downs. His handling of crises—both personal and professional—has taught him to stay the course and take setbacks in stride.

WS: What’s the No. 1 trait that a fast-track executive needs to reach the top?

Merrick: A sense of purpose. You can’t just get up in the morning and talk yourself into wanting to go to work. You need to want to accomplish something and enjoy working toward a goal.

WS: But a lot of managers enjoy their work and still don’t become CEOs.

Merrick: It’s more than finding the work stimulating. You need to see yourself as moving toward an important, urgent objective. And once you reach that point, it should be obvious to you and the people with whom you work.

WS: Did you always have that sense of purpose?

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