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The whitewaters of work and life

I recently had the joy of creating live visuals for an event organized by Mike Kleis of Executive Forums Iowa. Mike invited renown author and experienced business advisor Les McKeown to speak about his two books, “Predictable Success,” and, “The Synergist.”
As I sketched away on my iPad to visually synthesize the essence of his talk, I was blown away by what McKeown described.

My Two Takeaways:

  1. There are seven stages of growth and decline in a business life cycle: Early Struggle, Fun, White-Water, Predictable Success, Treadmill, Big Rut, and Death Rattle.
  2. Decisions are made and executed at different rates of speed according to the stage of growth or decline. Click here for my live visual of a decide-implement matrix.

The third stage, also called the “White-Water” stage of business growth, was especially intriguing to me. Here’s how McKeown explains it:

  • The business is running you, instead of you running it.
  • Your schedule is so full, you no longer have time for relationship building.
  • Firefighting isn’t just for the guys with the cool red trucks.

So, what does Mr. McKeown encourage us to do?

The book, Predictable Success, shares relevant advice for business leaders on how to move out of White-Water and into Predictable Success.

Chapters four and nine brought the following points to the surface for me:

  • Cover of "Predictable Success: Getting Yo...Cover via Amazon

    If you want to grow, recognize and implement the right balance of systems and processes.
  • Shift the way you make decisions so that you can better manage the complexity you face. Take a little more time to decide, so that you can execute on the right decisions more quickly (and avoid the wrong ones too).
  • If you don’t want to grow, do less and reduce complexity. There is nothing wrong with that.

This pinged my thinking. The stresses of the White-Water stage and the author’s advice on how to move out of it -- well, these apply to our personal lives, too.

What new systems and processes will you create in life and in work? Will you tweak the method and rate at which decisions are made and implemented, so that you can get out of White-Water, and move into Predictable Success?

- Jocelyn Wallace

Related Links:

Carol Roth Interviews Les McKeown

Gini Dietrich of SpinSucks.com Interviews Les McKeown

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Hey, thanks so much for the shout-out, Jocelyn - I really appreciate it.

Your comment about the application of Predictable Success in our personal lives is right on the money, and in fact I'm (for the fist time) going to be speaking about the use of the Predictable Success model in relationships and other non-business environments here:


Thanks again for the great work during the session. Your visuals are brilliant.

- Les

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