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The Published Author Podcast

40X ENTREPRENEUR LES MCKEOWN TURNED PREDICTABLE SUCCESS INTO A BESTSELLING BOOK AND A BUSINESS

Les McKeown is the CEO of Predictable Success LLC. A renowned speaker, author and advisor on accelerated business growth, Les started over 40 companies in his own right, and has guided hundreds more worldwide.

His company, Predictable Success, advises CEOs and senior leaders of organizations on how to achieve scalable, sustainable growth. Their clients range from large family-owned businesses to Fortune 100 companies, and include Harvard University, T-Mobile, United Technologies, The National Security Agency, Gartner and The Motley Fool.

In this interview, Les details his “secrets” to entrepreneurial success and how he created multiple bestselling books that have helped him grow his speaking and consulting career.

EPISODE TRANSCRIPT

Josh Steimle:

Today, my guest is Les McKeown. Les has started more than 40 businesses and guided hundreds more globally. He's the author of four books, including his most recent Do Scale: A Road Map to Growing A Remarkable Company published in 2019. His company, predictable success, advises CEOs and senior leaders of organizations on how to achieve scalable, sustainable growth. His clients range from large family owned businesses, to Fortune 100 companies and include Harvard University, T-Mobile, Gartner and The Motley Fool. Les, welcome to the show.

Les McKeown:

Thank you, Josh. It's just great to be here. Hi, everybody.

Josh Steimle:

So you have an incredible background and so much experience in the business world. Can you give us an overview of that, walk us through your career and how you ended up as an entrepreneur and businessman?

Les McKeown:

Sure, happy to. I was a pretty weird kid. I didn't, first of all, your listeners will know if not right away shortly from my accent that although I'm talking to you from beautiful Maryland to Chesapeake Bay Area. I'm not originally from these parts. I grew up in Ireland in a town called Belfast in the middle of the Civil War. And for some reason, I didn't want to be a spaceman, I didn't want to be a fireman, I didn't want to join the army, I didn't want to be a footballer. I was fascinated by business. I have no idea where it came from. But from the earliest age, I can remember being interested just in in fundamentals of why one store would work and another one wouldn't. And anyway, I got some great advice from a guy called Jim [Inaudible] [00:01:39] probably my very first ever mentor and he said you want to get into business go qualify either as a CPA, a British equivalent chartered accountant, or as an attorney. It will give you an understanding of why business works that will stand you in very good stage. So I went became a CPA, took me five years to do it. And almost immediately with the hubris of youth, decided I was going to start helping advise people. I had no interest in tax returns anything with that. So I just started trying to help people do whatever they needed to do to grow their businesses a little bit better and started. There is a huge push for entrepreneurship in the UK at this stage. A lot of funding was available to start new businesses and people started to come to me to ask me to help them, you know, write a loan proposal, find a product, sometimes I didn't know what to do get them a team member. Very long story short, after a short period of time, people started to ask me if I would be interested in actually joining them as like an interim CEO advisor on their board. A couple of times, I went in permanently for shorter periods of time. And before I was 35, I had helped launch 42 businesses, but 38 of them businesses, a few not for profit, and you know, even a thick Irishmen is going to start seeing some patterns if you do something over and over again. And I got fascinated with the patterns of early success. What distinguished between those 42 businesses that did well, and the two that failed very painfully, and started to codify what I thought were the patterns of success, and to take you through the rest of it in literally breakneck speed. I realized pretty early on that I had codified what I'd observed a being the patterns of growth in the early stages of growth. And I thought that they would hold out through the whole arc of business growth and decline. And I moved out here to the U.S. 22 years ago. My accent decided not to completely relocate, went to the Bay Area, got the opportunity to to work with very large organizations, Microsoft, Sun Microsystems, American Express, the US Army, Harvard Business School, and Harvard University. And I proved this model out. And I ended up setting looking at a model that I came to call predictable success, which takes every organization for profit or not for profit, right away from literally from cradle to grave. So that's my journey.

Josh Steimle:

And that's incredible, because that's the dream for all entrepreneurs, right? I'm an entrepreneur. I hang out with entrepreneurs, that's what we all want. We're trying to figure out how can I make my business successful, who can give me the recipe, who can give me the formula? So can you give us a little taste of it? I mean, we need to go read your books. I know, but what's the short version here? What's the teaser?

Les McKeown:

Yeah the two point summary of it all is, first of all, you got to know which of seven possible stages of development your business is in. And the real quick, real easy, early struggle. That's the startup stage. 80% of all new ventures fail. Next stage, highly technical name, I call it fun. Means you got through you already struggled. You've got a business and most people think that's it by the way. They go through the early struggle stage and doesn't work or they go through the struggle stage and it does work, and they get into the second stage. And it's called fun because it's fun and we grow naturally and organically. What they don't realize is they're five more stages ahead if you're not careful. Because what happens is in fun, you grow, you get bigger, you add people, you become more complicated. And finally, you hit a stage I called whitewater, and whitewater I call it that, because that's just what it feels like. All of the stuff that we did that was, you know, we just showed up said yes to everything and fun on top downstem improvised our way to pleasing all of our customers and clients begins to not work anymore, because we're too complex, that just we've added too many product lines, too many people too many locations, whatever it may be, and in whitewater we have a big choice to make, which is, do I want to just go back to fun have a boutique business, you know, maybe drop off a few product lines, maybe even a few people just go back to what it was. So maybe I got seven locations at my coffee shops. And I just want to go back to two because I could do that or three, or do I want to become Caribou Coffee, or Starbucks or whatever it might be. In which case, we've got to break through to the peak stage, which I call predictable success. And that's all about building systems and processes. We need to bring repeatability to what we used to do by just turning up every day and being the next indicated thing. So whitewater is all about putting systems and processes in place. It's actually all about behavioral change. But we might talk about that later. You get to predictable success, do the right stuff, stay there for as long as you want. And the differences between fun and predictable success, which are the only two stages you want to be and by the way, is in predictable success you can scale and fun you grow. But it's always decreasing returns till you hit that whitewater stage. When you get into predictable success with your systems and processes now you can scale and real real quickly if you overcook that and put too many systems and processes in place, you start to slide down to decline stage. You first of all get into a stage I called treadmill, just a symbiotic twin of whitewater. Whitewater, we were the under process of organization business for the first time. In treadmill worthy, overprocessed organization for the first time, you know, we're pushing compliance too much. Customers have to fill in 13 fields in an online form to even get to talk to somebody. But you can come back from treadmill just relax the systems and processes and come back into predictable success. If you don't do that you move into a stage which I call the big rut. And that's just a big long slide into irreversible decline. You're just becoming more irrelevant with every day. And then you finally hit the last stage which I call death rattle where it might look like something's happening. But we're just putting this sucker to sleep. So the number one takeaway is which stage do you want to be in, you want to be in fun or do you want to be unpredictable success. And then all of the rest of what I do kicks in, which is there's a big behavioral change, and most people fail and their choice to go just go to and thrive in one or other of those stages. Because they can't get their behaviors right. They think what got them here, we'll get them there. And it doesn't.

Josh Steimle:

I see exactly how these apply with some of my businesses. I've got one that's in early struggle. I've got one that's in the fun stage. And we're trying to move into predictable success. And okay I'm hooked. I'm going to read those books right away and we're going to implement it.

Les McKeown:

Would you like to know what the secret is of making that happen?

Josh Steimle:

Yes.

Les McKeown:

So here's it, this is the second part. And it was my second book. So predictable success is all about those seven stages that we just talked about. The model of technical success model actually has two parts that are completely interlinked, not pulled together. But I couldn't write a book that would be, that wouldn't be so big, that people would never read it. So I split two parts of the model. The seven stages as one, we just talk through that. But what in your case, in many of the listeners cases, the actual key to making the transition is all in the second books called The Synergist. And what this is about, are the four leadership styles that need to be choreography need to be put in the right sequence to get you through those stages. So you're clearly an entrepreneur, as are many of your listeners. And those folks, I would say probably you two are what I call a visionary leader. Visionaries 30,000 doesn't mean you go up a mountainside and smoke weed but you've got you've imagined things you picture things, your high risk factor you think at 30,000 feet, you know you'll take risks and chances. Otherwise, why would you leave good employment just start a new venture that's got an 80% chance of fan. Visionaries however have got one big failing, which is shiny new ball syndrome. They get an endorphin rush by imagining new things and so left to their own devices. They keep just the crazy makers, they just keep setting fires all around them. So they inherently whether they knew any my language or not any successful visionaries basically will go and find as soon as possible since they can afford them one or more of what I call operators and operators are just ruthless finishers and visionaries are starters, operators are ruthless finishers. Never pretty, they go through breezeblock walls, but they get stuff done. And it's the visionary conducting one and maybe two, maybe three operators is a little, like an orchestra that takes that business out of already struggle and produces that highly contagious culture in the fun stage, because we just say yes to everything, and then work out how to do it later. Here's the trick. You get into predictable, you get into whitewater, for the first time, a third style needs, leadership style needs to be brought into the senior leadership team. And it's what I call the processor leadership style. You need to bring somebody in, we've got to put the systems and processes in place that you need, depends on what business you're in, what they are, might be bookkeeping, might be legal, might be contracting, might be warehouse management, whatever. You need somebody with a left brain, you know, very structured approach, measure twice, cut once. And that's where the problems start. Because the visionary and the operators can finish each other's sentences. They're symbiotic. They have a similarity in wanting to work fast, and get it done and get on to the next thing. Processor has a whole different world view. And so one of the things that happens in whitewater is often we get for the first time real grief at senior management or leadership level. Might only be three people, might be 33 people, but essentially the visionary and the processors, worldviews are so opposite they just can't get on and the operator is like the kid in a bad marriage wondering what the heck are we doing next, because he or she just wants their marching order. And so finally, turn this long rant. What I've discovered is you need to develop a fourth learn style. I call it the synergist style. So the processors, operators and visionaries all need to learn essentially, how to understand they need each other very, very much and to respect and embrace each other. And that fourth learn style, the synergist style is what my second books all about.

Josh Steimle:

Oh, this is great. All right, I'm gonna devour all these immediately as soon as we get off this podcast. I've learned some of this through some other books. There's some other books that touch on parts of this, like Gino Wickman's traction and Rocket Fuel. They talk about visionaries and integrators. But you're bringing some things to the table here that I've never heard about. So this is really fascinating. But –

Les McKeown:

The whole [Inaudible] [00:12:33] model, sorry, just didn't mean interrupt you, the whole [Inaudible] [00:12:36] model Gino stuff is superb. And I send a lot of people who I talk with who are in fun, and I say go get Traction, Rocket Fuel and the other EOS books because that gives you a far more detailed, tactical level. I mean, you read the books, you know, all those checklists, all that meetings that you're going to have, all that sort of stuff. But we're a top site. And this isn't a hit attraction and an EOS and Rocket Fuel. It's just what they do. They help you get out of early struggle and maximize everything and fun. But what it does is it expects what they call the integrator role to do everything and that integrator role falls apart when you hit whitewater. At that point, you need an operator and a processor. So if you try to work with structures just too long in the in the whitewater state, what you often end up with is something that I call integrator burnout because the integrator is being asked to do stuff that they do not have the mindset for.

Josh Steimle:

So does that mean that if I'm putting together a team, and I'm the visionary. I've got my integrator. But does that mean that I'm also looking for that operators, the separate person from the integrator?

Les McKeown:

Probably not. What happens in most cases is that a visionary will, you know, subconsciously. They are not doing the math here. But they'll get somebody who is somewhere from 60% to 100% operator as their integrator, because the key thing you want is to deliver. You don't want a not in those early days and shouldn't want and it would be wrong to bring in a full blown processor. If you got a full blown processor on board instead of an operator or even at the same time as an operator. Too early. It slows everything up because you're putting systems and processes in place that you don't need, and they'll just hold you back. So what I find with the VI model is that they're typically 60% to 100% operators, but the point is this, the operator mindset will always win out. And what that means is there isn't the full development of the you need a separate processor voice in whitewater on forever after more than one over time, whose job it is to make that happen so that they are operators can be true operators.

Josh Steimle:

Got you. All right, I've got to get all this stuff. This is exactly where some of my businesses are at. So this is great stuff. Now let's jump over to the books then and talk a little bit more about your book journey. What was the point at which you first said I need to put these ideas together into a book and get it out there? What was the motivation for that?

Les McKeown:

Well, there was a phony war, when I said that a lot. As a lot of us do who have written books, you know, you talk about it forever. And then the actual motivation for doing it was my damn darling wife telling me, I could either write the book or shut up, stop talking about it, to put it nicely. So I decided to do it. And I magnificently chose in late 2007, to set aside 18 months to write the book and set myself up so that I didn't have to do client work. So I did a whole bunch of stuff to put some funding together to let me concentrate on writing the book, and find myself with the full first draft of the manuscript on the day that Lehman Brothers collapsed. And here I was, with his brilliant book on business growth. And we had, what, until last year, as we're recording this was the worst financial crisis in history. So it was terrible timing. And I didn't actually publish it until 2010 quite deliberately, because I would have been publishing it into a pretty rough market for that.

Josh Steimle:

Right, everybody was just trying to survive.

Les McKeown:

Correct. And nobody was going to buy a book called Predictable Success at a time when we all thought that the world was collapsing, and rightly so. But I wasn't prepared to change the title. There were branding reasons why I wanted to keep it there. And so I wrote it, and published in 2010.

Josh Steimle:

And what was the reception like to that as a first time author with your first book? How did it go?

Les McKeown:

Well, I put a lot of effort and research, Josh into what I was doing. I was publishing for a very specific reason. I'm going to be really blunt with you Well, I'll be really, really blunt. There was a an ego thing. I wanted a published book. I had written a couple of books previously on commission back in the UK on business matters for other people, which meant my name didn't appear. I might, you know, I was writing on their topics, not mine, but I wanted my own book. So there was that. But the key thing was quite bluntly, getting my speaking fee I didn't do a lot of public speaking. And I was building a good platform, platform platform, if you want to call it that. But there's a level of fee that you hit that you can't get above unless you either are a minor celebrity, you know, been in the news for something, been on love Island or you know, whatever it may be, or you've got a book that's been well received in your niche. So I wanted to do that and get my average consulting coaching fee to where I wanted it to be as well. So that was the main reason to do it. I also was gripped by the fact that I have a closed model. I didn't have to worry about what the book was going to be about. I didn't have to, you know, agonize over what would I fill this book with after chapter two or three, which you know, we've all read a lot of business books, and they're done by page 35 and the rest is just filler. I didn't have that at the opposite. I had a big editing issue to make it as I've already alluded to make it into a readable book. And so I decided to talk to a lot of publishing options. And I self-published Predictable Success with a wonderful company called Greenleaf, high, highly recommend, and frankly, Greenleaf was still there, then the original founder, they gave me incredibly good service. I had a wonderful Shepherd book Shepherd called Elizabeth Marshall and we worked like crazy and got it on the Wall Street Journal, and USA Today bestseller lists. It had number six in Wall Street Journal, and number two in the USA Today, and it was number one on Amazon, number one on its niche for days on end. It wouldn't be number one business book of all on Amazon came in at number two, because Jerry Shea from Zappos launched his book the very same day and it knocked me off first place.

Josh Steimle:

Yeah. Number two is not too bad though in the business.

Les McKeown:

I'll take it man being behind delivering happiness. I'll take that.

Josh Steimle:

Yeah. So tell us a little bit more about the book writing process. You had this previous experience doing ghostwriting for other people. When you went to write your own book, did you have any sort of team as you were writing it? Did you have a developmental editor, or other editors or other people who were involved helping you out? Or did you have enough experience that you felt like, I know what I'm doing, I can do this on my own.

Les McKeown:

I'm fortunate in that I don't say this. I hope it doesn't come across as self aggrandizingly but I am a good writer, I've always written since like, I was a child prodigy, but you know, I always loved English in school. I would write things a lot. I read avidly. I know good writing, I still write an awful lot. I'd been writing daily blog posts back then. I certainly couldn't contemplate these days. But back then, for a couple of years, I've been doing I mean, literally, seven blog posts a week every day. And so I had honed that side of it. And also the material was very well known to me. I've been speaking it, teaching it. So there was a lot of, there were a lot of little bits of stick, you know, that was oh, yes here's the bit more I'll talk about this. Here's the bit world do about that. So for me, writing was not so much the issue. Well, one small exception we'll come to in a second. As it was a question of curating and editing, what would become a compelling book. But the one exception is that I decided with both the books that annoying my audience which were going to be essentially founder owners of fast growing organizations, not exclusively, but essentially, so. I needed to get them hooked by telling stories early on. So both Predictable Success and Synergist break into two parts. There's more storytelling first half, where I tell a series of stories about for example, a visionary and operator processors synergist or abide each of the seven stages. So writing those stories that was original, and that took a lot of, you know, creative squeezing. And then the back end of both books is the technical stuff, the high twos, which was, as I say, mostly in the editing process.

Josh Steimle:

Got you. Now, you mentioned working with this book Shepherd, Elizabeth Marshall, and how you worked really hard to get it on these bestseller lists. What did that work look like? What exactly were you doing together?

Les McKeown:

We just put a massive marketing campaign ahead of the book. And the one thing that I wish I had realized earlier, it turned out to work out all right, but it required an awful lot of catching up on my part. The one thing that that was the biggest aha, coming out of Predictable Success was the hard work really start it back up a quick but we all write books for different reasons, if the only reason you're writing a book, which is entirely valid one is just to write it and get it there and be able to say to people I wrote a book then what I'm about to say doesn't apply. But if you want to have specific what the cool kids would call KPIs metrics, and you want to I wanted an evergreen book that would not come off the shelf in six months. I wanted my book to be to continue to be available 98% of all business books you will never see them after their first year of publication. I wanted something that would continue to develop and grow and sell and so it's proved after that massive, early spike, I've sold more copies of Predictable Success every month, ever since. And so what I didn't realize till I was sort of almost too late was that all the hard work really goes in after pub day. I thought, you know, we worked like crazy, and ship off the final draft to the printer publisher, and go and get drunk, and then stay in that state for a month or two. And of course, what dawned on me as we kind of work with Liz and some other folks was that we had to put a massive marketing campaign around getting the book into people's hands after publication day. So it was just a massive marketing campaign. We made most of it up as we went along.

Josh Steimle:

A lot of work after the day. So then what was the inspiration for the second book? What happened in between after Predictable Success that made you feel like I need to write another book, I need to follow this up?

Les McKeown:

Well, it was already planned, because the whole of the Predictable Success model constituted these two halves, if you will, first of all the seven stages, which is what the first book was about. And then the second part of the model are the fourth stage, there's no greater process as synergist. I had fairly clinically separated those. And so the second book, I knew I was going to write in fact, I was half that's way too much. But I was I was throwing bits and pieces of thoughts toward that book as I was doing Predictable Success because I was having to sort of, you know, scissor ride bits and pieces, and I'd say, okay, that'll go into the Synergist. And it was sort of framing the shape of it. But I wanted to focus on the marketing of Predictable Success for a clean year. So I waited till I had all that done. Then I published the Synergist with a mainstream publisher, which, frankly, in my view was a mistake. And I'm sorry, I did that. And I wouldn't do that again. But hey, it worked out all right two years later.

Josh Steimle:

Okay, got it. And then bring us to your last book. What happened leading up to Do Scale?

Les McKeown:

I was asked in 2011, so I had just published Predictable Success, I was asked to come and speak at a conference called the Do Lectures, which is held in Wales, which is a little tiny part of the United Kingdom on the left hand side. A lot of sheep out there. And a friend of mine, a guy called David Allen, who'd written a book called Getting Things Done, huge in the productivity world, had spoken there the year before and recommended me. And so I went and Do Lectures is like tagged with sheep on yurts. So it's held in this I did like bucolic Welsh, barley a time [Inaudible] [00:26:27] farm wonderful entrepreneur called David Hyatt. And I recommend everybody go to dolectures.com. And you'll see a whole series of talks, there are hundreds of and I gave one in 2011. And the group of do speakers in and of itself is a pretty tight group. And a lot of us stay in touch, I'm still very much in touch with the other folks who talked the year I was there anyway. The year after that, they started a publishing only for two speakers. So they would commission people who had spoken to write a small book about the topic. And the goal was to be completely actionable. And the books are beautifully curated, beautifully constructed. And they're printed by a small boutique publishing house called to Do Publishing. And so I actually wrote, for them. I do a book called Do Lead, which is a very succinct sort of action guide around the visionary operator process, or synergist model. But also, the main thrust of it is something that means a lot to me, which is that leadership can happen anywhere in an organization. It doesn't have to be and shouldn't be just an elite exclusive act by senior managers. You should be able to build an organization where people can lead from anywhere and so that's what Do Lead was about. And then a couple of years ago, they asked me what I do one on scaling and it's about the core distinctions between being in Predictable Success going up that J curve and being in fun, and just having that steadier growth.

Josh Steimle:

Got you. So this last book, this just came out in 2019. Is that correct?

Les McKeown:

That's correct.

Josh Steimle:

Do Scale. And what's the reception been on like that, on that so far?

Les McKeown:

It's been fascinating. You know, as you'll be well aware and many of your guests will have shared with your listeners the same thing, part of the secret is not the right word. But one of the ingredients in making a good book, is what you leave out and it was, I think, Graham Greene, great British novelist, whose main or authorial advice, writing advice was murder your darlings. You know, if you're looking at something and you're thinking a hole, that's pretty darn good, it's probably gonna come out. And I was left with a lot of darlings, you know, lying on the cutting room floor when I finished Predictable Success. And I realized that they were another book, they were about what it really means to optimize when you get into Predictable Success, how do I scale I mean, just one thing, by the way, I put it in the book is, you can have a Porsche sitting outside, you're actually looking out here and across the street don't mind somebody else's Porsche. So there you go. But you can have a Porsche setting outside your front door, that doesn't mean to say that you're capable of getting in and driving to a fast speed safely. So do scale is really about the mechanics of how do you actually achieve scale once you've got the infrastructure to do it. I do talk a little bit at the start up like getting there, but it's mostly about what do you do when you get there. And interestingly a lot of the response that I've had and this happens so often that something that you don't really think about other people pick up on it, I taught them only for maybe half a chapter, or a chapter, that's, I think, the shortest in the book, I talk about something I call flipping. And that's setting up a business a new venture to grow as rapidly as possible, and then [Inaudible] [00:30:22] and I make the distinction that that is not building a scaled organization. That's just manipulating as best you can whatever you can, and cashing out. And I didn't mean to write it and didn't write it in any sort of a judgmental way. I just wanted to make it clear that Do Scale is not a book for people who just want to set something up and build it up, you know, full of whatever it is that those weight lifters take that build those big muscles, and then sell it on. Do Scale is about scaling for legacy, scaling for the medium and long term.

Josh Steimle:

Alright. You're speaking my language here. I'm trying to build businesses that I never want to sell that I'll have till the day I die. So do you have other books planned? Do you have other work in the pipeline?

Les McKeown:

I have two things that are not I wouldn't call them yet being in the pipeline. They are not even on the runway, but they will come out in due course. Timing as you know, means a lot in this. And one, I don't have a title for it. But it's essentially and what this won't be on our call. But it's essentially about the seven stations of the cross for an entrepreneur. It's the seven things that mark the lifecycle of an entrepreneur as a person, as opposed to Predictable Success, which is about the seven stages of a business. So you know, things like making the initial decision to jump, and then smaller as it may seem in the rearview mirror, hiring your very first person all the way up to do a cash side, do a sale, do a [Inaudible] [00:32:03] how do I exit. So it'll be about those seven things. And the other one is much more clear, straightforward, and much more tactical and it's come out of something that's been a real blessing to me after I wrote the first book, Predictable Success, I wrote it entirely in the context of business. Although I had noticed that there was an echo of many of the things that I'd written in other organizations, and indeed, even in relationships, and I realized that the principles applied and apply to any group of two or more people who are trying to achieve common goals, any group of two or more people trying to achieve a common goal. So it could be a, you know, a church, faith based organization, it could be a family, it could be a sports team, if you're a group of two or more people trying to achieve common goals and the principles of both predictable success with the seven stages and the necessity to get the [Inaudible] [00:33:03] they all apply. So the other book will be predictable success for faith and cause based organizations to be very technical book about how to implement the principles in those types of environment because it's going to be, although it's not difficult to do the read across, it can be a little bit off putting if you're running up, you know, one of my classes second fastest growing church group in North America, when in the first book, I talked about profit and money and revenue those things have all got pretty straightforward read across is, but I just want to put something out there that does that hard work for them.

Josh Steimle:

That's really interesting. So I've got a little bit. So I have a friend. And he's an entrepreneur. But he does things a little bit differently than other entrepreneurs I've met. He set up a holding company and then he started multiple companies under that holding company. And he really buys into EOS and the partnership model. And so what he does is he gets businesses started. He's the visionary. He gets, he starts a business. And then as quickly as possible, once it's proven, he brings in partners to run that business. And he then essentially lets them run that business. And he'll, he's still there as the visionary. But they're running the business. And now he's up to they're doing 120 million a year combined revenues between all his businesses, and they're growing rapidly. And he's building this, his goal is to have a $10 billion business empire. And he seems to have a credible start towards that. As you think about the principles in your book would they change in any way if that's the type of initiative you were working on? Or would it just be executing the same principles but within each of these businesses or does anything change with that type of model?

Les McKeown:

Not particularly. The only thing that it doesn't change but more thought needs to go into it is the [Inaudible] [00:35:02] profile of that individual that you put into each of the businesses. And I'll share what I mean by that. But what I would do is I'm just a firm, that's a perfectly valid model. Certain type of visionary goes that route for certain answers. I mean, I'm really good example is if anybody's bumped into his great organization called belay solutions they provide VAs and the couple that own it, that they've taken exactly that model and are pushing out really hard. So don't work in any of the businesses work on all of them. What you got to do is to be pretty clear about what the [Inaudible] [00:35:45] profile is of the folks that you're putting in there. And essentially, what you want is what I've talked up to [Inaudible] [00:35:54] just for simplistic purposes, as if we're just all one of those styles, we're not all of us have typically got two styles. Some people have three, there are a few people can move between all four. And what you want ideally, in most of those situations, there are a few of them will be different, but you want a big O small E and what that means is they've got enough of the V style, visionary style that they can talk your language you can download to them, they get that, but then they take it out with the O and make it happen. And that once you get that calibrated, well it'll work really, really well. What won't work is 98% of the time is if you bring on just a complete operator because your vision will weather and if you've got 20 other balls you're trying to keep in the air, you'll find yourself having to constantly go back and realign that individual, you know, give them the download again, you should be working on it way too hard, you bring a processor, and then that will kill your business too early. A processor is not the right person to take your baby from you and route it to the next stage. So if you get that V, sorry, OV, then that's the right structure to have.

Josh Steimle:

Alright, that jives with some of the things my friend has done because he's told me about how he brought in one of his operators as a partner running this business. And I said, well, who's doing the visionary stuff? And he's like, Well, I do it. But he's also adjusting to being a visionary. And I was stuck in this mindset. You're either a visionary, or you're an operator, you're never both. And he said, he disagrees with that. He said, I think you can be an operator and learn how to be a visionary. And he said, my operator is learning how to be a visionary, and step more into that role. Never that he's going to be 100% visionary, but he's going to be enough of a visionary to run it which seems to be what you're saying here.

Les McKeown:

Yeah, you can move. It depends on the age of the individual. I don't mean to be ages, but we all the plasticity, our ability to change [Inaudible] [00:37:58] , you know, begin to solidify over time. And certainly up to about mid 30s. Maybe if you're sort of the intellectually curious type early 40s, you can move your style by about 25%. So we have an assessment at synergistquiz.com where you can just build one answer, you know, 30 questions in five minutes. And I'll spit out what your mixture is between VOPs. And what I've noticed over the years is, if you make a conscious effort, and/ or you get shifted into a role, it's demanding something different from your life, or being asked to have some V, you can make a bite at 25% max shift in your nascent style. And so in that regard, you know, what your friend is saying is obviously 100% right? And when you think about it, that's that's why franchises exist, the reasons why people you know, go and get a McDonald's franchise rather than starting their own fast food diner is they don't want the risk of having to be right on the visionary stuff. They're saying, okay, you've proved this thing. I'll just come in and run it. And you know, it's one of the reasons why I had never I didn't think about this at the time that I was writing the book, but it's one of the reasons why so many franchises called their franchise owners, operators. That's the name they give them because that's essentially what they are.

Josh Steimle:

Got you. Well, this just goes to show that one of the other elements of a successful book is having real tangible helpful stuff. And I hope this is coming out of this interview that the stuff that you've got in your books is the real deal. This isn't fluff. So it's helpful. Les this has been a great chat here. For those who are interested in reaching out connecting with you and learning more where's the best place for them to go?

Les McKeown:

Go to predictablesuccess.com. It's all one word. Predictablesuccess.com noodle around there. Sign up for the podcast, podcast is great. We've got great people just as you do too. Our podcast tends to have actual business owners come and tell their story or great business advisors. Sign up for the blog. I put something I don't do seven days a week anymore, put something out every Sunday. And, you know, hey, reach out in the contact form, the contact form comes to me. If you say hello, on the website, you will get an actual written email from me Not at all, you will get an autoresponder saying, you'll hear from me, but I'd love to hear from any of the listeners.

Josh Steimle:

Perfect. Thank you so much for being with us here today on the published author, podcast Les.

Les McKeown:

Thank you so much Josh. Thanks everybody.

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