Today I have the privilege and honor to host an interview with Dave McKeown! Dave helps individuals, teams, and organizations achieve excellence by doing the ordinary things extraordinarily well. He is the CEO of Outfield Leadership and author of the upcoming book The Self-Evolved Leader – Elevate Your Focus and Develop Your People in a World That Refuses to Slow Down.

Dave has a wealth of experience in connecting individual and team performance to improved business results with a particular focus on fast-growing, complex organizations.

Let’s see what Dave has to say about leadership and the self-evolved leader model!

Who Is Dave McKeown?

Dave McKeown Photo

First David, I think it is important for my readers to know who Dave McKeown is and how do you start with consultancy and Outfield Leadership? Can you tell us something about your background?

I started my career back in the UK with Accenture helping leaders in hospitals implement new patient record software.

During that time I realized that those leaders who were successful weren’t necessarily the best at the ‘functional’ aspects of the role. They had something different; the ability to set a compelling vision and bring people along.

That struck a desire in me to uncover what that was and to help other leaders become the best leader they can be.

In the early 2010’s I moved to the USA first to Massachusetts and then to Southern California. I started working in the ‘family’ business which was an organizational growth consultancy focused on helping organizations achieve scalability.

It was here that I started to uncover some of the key principles of leadership that I teach and train on today.

In 2017 I stepped away from the family business and started Outfield Leadership. Now I speak, coach and consult on building leadership excellence at every level of the organization.

I think David that personal habits affect too much the output of your work (and extrapolate freely from my own consulting experience). What do you think?

Personal habits are hugely important in the output of your work. Too many founders believe that moving in a direction, any direction is progress rather than being specific on what they spend their time on.

I wouldn’t be as successful as I am without building a degree of routine into everything that I do.

What are your daily habits? I mean, you are a consultant, a founder of a company, an entrepreneur, a family member, etc. and you are active in various other areas besides your professional life! How do you find time to keep up with all these things without leaving behind the important things in your life! Or the same how do you focus on the things matter most to you?

I try as much as possible to chain a number of habits together to form an easily repeatable routine.

I’m usually up at 6 and the morning is all about setting the intention for the day. I take the dog for a walk, get a 60-minute workout in, then eat breakfast.

I purposefully don’t check my phone or computer until 8:30. The rest of the morning is when I do my most creative work so I write, cut new videos or work on client deliverables. Then in the afternoon, I move toward more menial or administrative stuff.

For me, it’s all about matching your workload to your energy routine. I try to wrap up by 5:30 at the latest and spend the evening with my family or pursuing other hobbies.

I’m currently learning how to play the drums 🙂

Are you David an organized person and if so how do you achieve your personal and professional goals.

For me, organization is all about prioritization. We can do anything but we can’t do anything.

I’m constantly reviewing the top 2 or 3 things that need to get done today or the next few hours.

I build in a weekly review on a Friday afternoon to cover what I achieved this week and what I want to achieve next week and I’m getting better at building monthly and quarterly reviews to ensure that I’m getting closer to achieving my medium and long term goals.

What is the book (or books) you would recommend to the people you would like to help?

In the last few months, Atomic Habits by James Clear and Tiny Habits by BJ Fogg have stuck out for me. They cover pretty much the same terrain (forming positive habits) but attack it from different angles.

Getting Things Done by David Allen is a perennial classic and I really enjoyed Digital Minimalism by Cal Newport.

The Self-Evolved Leader Book!

How do you reach to The Self-Evolved Leader? What are the problems can not be solved with previous approaches? Too many of our past approaches to leadership involve viewing the leader as the hero; making diving catches to save the day for their team. It puts the leader in the center of the story. The trouble with the approach is that it ends up with the leader taking on too much, ultimately leading to stress and burnout and prevents their team from truly developing.

The key steps to becoming a Self-Evolved Leader are first of all to make the mindset shift away from heroic leadership toward leading with the intent to develop your people.

Secondly, you need to co-create a shared vision with your team. This acts as the North Star for decision making and direction.

The third is to build an implementation rhythm to get you closer to your vision and lastly is to develop the key disciplines to keep you on track.

What is the new mindset you introduce to leaders today and how to build it!

The key shift in your mindset is away from leading through acts of heroism. I encourage all leaders to adopt this as their mantra:

My focus is on helping my team achieve their shared goals and in doing so to become the best version of themselves.

When you make this perspective shift, you realize that it’s enough for you to win if your team (or any individual member) fails.

It’s not enough for you to rescue the day for your team. Instead, you should be looking to elevate your focus to the long term direction of your team and the development of your people.

What leadership disciplines are and how to master them today (in an information-rich environment, influence you to react more rather proact, and full of many trivial details and obstacles you have to cope with!)

The five key disciplines are:

  • Reclaiming your attention: Protecting your headspace to give you more time to focus on the important things you need to work on rather than getting sucked into the urgent.
  • Facilitating team flow: Managing the inputs to, around, and out from your team in a way that keeps you focused on achieving your current goals and at the same time develops each member.
  • Supporting high performance: Helping your people discover the root cause of their issues, so they can assess the options in front of them by themselves. Then, encouraging them to devise a plan of action and backing their decision.
  • Having symbiotic conversations: Having conversations that allow all parties the freedom to express their reality without fear of judgment. The focus should be to find the best outcome for the team as a whole and for the individuals within it, and the conversation will conclude with a clear next action that empowers people to opt-in and supports those who choose to opt-out.
  • Building shared accountability: Building the environment that allows your team to set, achieve, and celebrate their collective goals.

The key thing is to work on no more than 1 or 2 of these at a time.

Pick the area you want to work on, define a good opportunity to practice, craft your ideal outcome, go execute and then review your progress. The only way you get better as a leader is through practice.

Is this for everyone or just for experts!

Far from it! This is anyone from the C-suite all the way to a first time manager or supervisor.

No matter how long you’ve been in a leadership position or what industry you are in, The Self-Evolved Leader will transform the way you look at leading.

How to start transforming yourself or/and agency according to the proposed leadership model.

A first great start is to read the book 🙂 At the end of it, there is a 15-week program you can implement individually, as a team or as an entire organization to help you put into practice the lessons we’ve been talking about.

There’s also a wealth of free resources (videos, activities, etc.) that accompany each chapter! If you have any questions on implementation feel free to get in touch!

Final Words!

Dave, If you could only give one piece of advice to a new entrepreneur (a new would-be entrepreneur, artist, painter, musician, business owner, marketing expert, etc.), what would that be David?

Give yourself as many opportunities to master your craft as possible and do whatever it takes to make sure you stay in the game long enough for that to pay off.