Can Success be Predictable?

According to Les McKeown – yes, it can. His book, Predictable Success, explains in step-by-step fashion just how that is so.

On #LeadershipChat this week (Tuesday, March 22, 8 pm ET) Les will be joining us to talk about Why Leaders Fail. And one surprising perspective is this: failure may simply be a function of not understanding the phases a company goes through.

My #LeadershipChat co-host Lisa Petrilli has given a very nice summary of the content and message of the book (Lisa’s blog post here), so I’m going to focus, in this book review, on something different. In a word: Narrative.

I was struck right away, in the Preface to the book, how Les was telling a story – his own story about arriving at the conclusions he’s come to. Then, throughout the book, he uses narrative – telling the stories of businesses and people that illustrate the meta-narrative – to make his points and keep the reader looped in.

But, ultimately, Les’ entire thesis about the way businesses evolve is one big narrative (see the graphic below), and that is one of the major appeals of his book. Narratives help make sense of that which is confusing. I’m sure it may seem simplistic to some, but Les gives a pretty convincing case that there is a predictable arc in how businesses can grow into success, and decline into failure. Fact is, I have seen and been part of Early Struggle, Fun, and Whitewater stages, and his narrative regarding those common experiences is eerily spot on.

For the leader of a company struggling to stabilize into patterns of growth and success, I highly recommend giving this book a read. You might be surprised at how often you find yourself nodding in agreement, or striking your forehead as a key insight into the obvious flashes by. Video summary below:

Please join Lisa Petrilli, me, and our guest Les McKeown for our table talk at LeadershipChat (8 pm ET this Tuesday evening). It’ll provide a wonderful excuse to get off the Treadmill!


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About Steve Woodruff
Steve Woodruff is a blogger, a Connection Agent, and a consultant in the pharma/healthcare industry. He specializes in helping people and companies make mutually beneficial connections.

3 Responses to Can Success be Predictable?

  1. Pingback: March Topics « Leadership Chat

  2. Kneale Mann says:

    Thanks for the recommendation, Steve. I was speaking with a colleague just last week and he capsulized it perfectly – none of us is immune to the roller coaster, the ebb and flow, the hard work and the challenge of building a business. It doesn’t matter if you are in the c-suite of a publicly corporation with a global footprint or a sole proprietor trying to launch your own business. I know I have days when I know logically that everyone ensures it but it can feel like a steep hill to climb on your own. I will certainly check out the book.

  3. Jeanne Male says:

    Steve, I’m grateful for the book recommendation – it hit a sweet spot because it meshes so well with my work in the behavioral styles and emotional intelligence competencies needed to drive corporate change. Thanks for the topic, the review and for co-hosting. I’m looking forward to hearing and learning more from Les and the LeadershipChat Community tonight!

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