As an Air Force nuclear launch officer, John Meyer spent much of the 1980s in a reinforced bunker surrounded by nuclear warheads. Meyer, now CEO of Acxiom, says the time he spent with his finger on the nuclear button has made him a far better business leader. "Creating a sense of urgency and demand in the organization is an important part of leadership. ... If you're not excited, you're not communicating," he said.

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