Les McKeown

Connecting the Leadership Dots

About The Episode


Today, we welcome Les McKeown, author of “Predictable Success,” to the podcast! Listen in to hear his insights on pattern recognition, self-awareness, and honesty in effective leadership. He encourages leaders to confront the internal voice of imposter syndrome in order to conquer it.

Welcome to episode 102 of the Leaders in Living Rooms podcast with Sean Morgan.

Background and Inspiration: 

  • Les McKeown’s interest in business and organizational patterns began when he observed the struggles of his family’s corner store. This sparked his curiosity about why some businesses succeed while others fail.

Career Path: 

  • Initially trained as a CPA (chartered accountant), McKeown’s fascination with numbers evolved into a deeper understanding of organizational dynamics and patterns. Over time, he gained experience advising and starting businesses, which led him to develop his model of predictable success.

Pattern Recognition: 

  • McKeown emphasizes the importance of pattern recognition in leadership. Great leaders can navigate both the tactical (“dirty fingernail work”) and strategic aspects of running an organization simultaneously.

Listening for Echoes and Booms: 

  • McKeown describes his approach of “listening for echoes and booms,” where he pays attention to recurring patterns (echoes) and acts decisively on insights (booms) to drive progress.

Imposter Syndrome: 

  • McKeown advises leaders to acknowledge and address imposter syndrome, recognizing that it’s normal to have doubts but crucial to confront and overcome them to lead effectively.

Transitioning Leadership Roles: 

  • For leaders transitioning into new roles, McKeown advises acknowledging unexpected transitions, addressing imposter syndrome, and identifying what one knows and doesn’t know about the new position.

Honesty and Trust: 

  • Leaders must be honest about their knowledge gaps and vulnerabilities, fostering a culture of trust where team members feel comfortable admitting when they don’t know something.

Building the Right Team:

  • Every organization, including churches, goes through different life cycle stages. Identifying the stage and understanding the types of individuals needed at each stage is crucial.
  • Four primary types of individuals in organizations are discussed: visionaries, operators, processors, and synergists. Each plays a unique role in organizational development.
  • Visionaries are crucial for initiating ideas, while operators focus on execution. Processors ensure things are done right, while synergists facilitate collaboration among different types.
  • Churches tend to attract synergistic individuals naturally, but this can sometimes hinder constructive conflict, which is essential for growth.

Team Dynamics and Decision-Making:

  • Effective leadership teams require trust and openness. Building trust within the team and fostering constructive conflict are essential for making sound decisions.
  • Separating personal relationships from professional roles is important in decision-making processes.
  • Transparency and accountability are crucial in leadership transitions. New leaders must assess and address any existing informal power structures that may hinder decision-making processes.

Meeting Cadence:

  • Senior leadership teams should ideally meet no more than once a month. Frequent meetings can lead to prioritizing urgent matters over important strategic decisions.
  • Separating T1 (senior leadership) meetings from T2 (managerial) meetings is crucial to ensure focus and effectiveness.

Role of New Leaders:

  • New leaders should focus on building trust and mentoring team members. Balancing mentoring with coaching for improved performance is essential.
  • New leaders should identify and address any existing power dynamics that may hinder effective decision-making and team collaboration.

Episode Links


Predictable Success, by Les McKeown


If you’re a leader approaching a succession or transition. Or maybe you’re a few years in and beginning to see how complex transitions leadership is… go to The Art of Pastoral Succession and check out my brand new course in partnership with Carey Nieuwhof. 

Are you in Transition or have one on the horizon? Check out our 2023 cohorts and get connected with us at: https://theascentleader.org/cohorts/

Who is Les McKeown?

Les McKeown is a renowned speaker and author. He has started over 40 companies in his own right, and guided hundreds more worldwide. His company, Predictable Success, advises senior leaders of organizations on how to achieve scalable, sustainable growth. Les is the author of the WSJ and USA Today Best-seller, “Predictable Success: Getting Your Organization On the Growth Track – and Keeping It There”, “The Synergist: Leading Your Team to Predictable Success”, “Do Lead: Share your vision. Inspire others. Achieve the impossible” and “Do Scale: A Roadmap to Building a Remarkable Company.”


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About the Host

Sean Morgan is a coach and speaker with a national reputation as a catalyst of fresh vision. His passion is to help ministries navigate obstacles and turn them into opportunities.

Throughout his career, Sean has pioneered initiatives impacting thousands of leaders across the country. He started out serving as Executive Pastor and CFO at New Life Church in northern California.

As host, Sean gives you access to amazing conversations, hard-won wisdom, and poignant insights from world-class leaders in intimate “living room” settings.

Your Host

Sean Morgan

Leaders in Living Rooms
Craft & Character

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