Strong Leaders Cultivate a Growth Mindset. See Visual:


The “change perspective to grow” technique. All Rights Reserved – Kevin P. McKeown ©

What I believe about my abilities and potential fuels my behavior and predicts my success as a person and a leader. I’m dedicated to staying in shape. I do CrossFit and Yoga. Why wouldn’t I also tune-up the internal dialogue that shapes every aspect of my life?

That inside game starts with mindset and focus.

Choosing a growth mindset “…creates a passion for learning rather than a hunger for approval. Its hallmark is the conviction that human qualities like intelligence and creativity, and even relational capacities like love and friendship, can be cultivated through effort and deliberate practice. Not only are people with this mindset not discouraged by failure, but they don’t actually see themselves as failing in those situations — they see themselves as learning.”

Stanford psychologist Carol Dweck writes:

Why waste time proving over and over how great you are, when you could be getting better? Why hide deficiencies instead of overcoming them? Why look for friends or partners who will just shore up your self-esteem instead of ones who will also challenge you to grow? And why seek out the tried and true, instead of experiences that will stretch you? The passion for stretching yourself and sticking to it, even (or especially) when it’s not going well, is the hallmark of the growth mindset. This is the mindset that allows people to thrive during some of the most challenging times in their lives.

I return to the Dweck visual often.

1 Mindset-Two

Dweck’s visual is inside Maria Popova’s post: Fixed vs. Growth: The Two Basic Mindsets That Shape Our Lives. I encourage you to follow Maria and her blog, Brain Pickings. This blog is “an inventory of cross-disciplinary interestingness, spanning art, science, design, history, philosophy, and more.” The nuggets of insight inspire and delight.

Brain on Growth not Fixed image[4]For my members and candidates:

I stress the inside game because we are more impactful leaders and peers when we wire ourselves for growth. In the group setting, the power of peers is boundless when we choose at attitude of growth.

Caroline Anderson, psychologist, Olympian and founder of Performance Edge Psychology coaches that paying less attention to negative thoughts frees you up “…to enter a state of observation rather than thinking, focus rather than judgment.” This helps you focus and enter the flow state.

Suggested Reading

About Vistage Chair Kevin McKeown

KPM Headshot for VistageKevin is a trusted advisor to chief executives, founders, owners and executives. He is a seasoned Chair with two fully energized CEO groups. Kevin is building an equally dynamic third group focused on key executives. He’s enrolling high integrity candidates for the remaining seats now. Kevin’s entrepreneurial and C-level leadership roles range from early stage to Fortune 500 (Mitsubishi #118) firms. As LexBlog’s President, his team built the world’s largest professional blog network. As co-founder of HitHive, Inc., Kevin’s team brought digital music to cell phones. He also helped build and sell one of the first online department stores. Kevin has a JD from Villanova University and a Bachelors in English from University of Pittsburgh. He resides in downtown Seattle. To learn more about Kevin’s leadership Chair practice, go to his LinkedIn

Register for Seattle’s Vistage Executive Summit – Tuesday, May 16th

Disruptive innovation or market disruption?

Disruptive innovation or market disruption?

Driving Dynamic Decisions

Executives are in the business of making decisions. Difficult decisions. Big decisions.
Decisions no one else can make. Many times, there are no clear-cut answers. But there ARE make-or-break consequences. This is the world you live in. Own it. Don’t just make a decision. Optimize it.

What is the Vistage Executive Summit?

VES 4 icon-ActionHelmed by event speakers who walk the talk, the Vistage Executive Summit (VES) is not for everyone. It is for you. Executive. Leader. Chief Problem-Solver. This event will provide you with the insights to make better decisions, helping you refine your instincts, improve your judgment, and expand your perspectives.

Every leader can define their tenure by a handful of decisions they made. This event has been re-engineered to enhance your leadership effectiveness, in four key areas:

  1. Business optimization: Fortify your foundation with trusted perspectives, and original approaches to decision-making.
  2. Leadership enhancement: Sharpen your focus. Bolster your confidence. Define your style. Master the art of execution, to lead fearlessly.
  3. Inspiration: Be empowered to lead with innovation and creativity. Speakers and peers push the conversation forward, helping you grow personally and professionally.
  4. Action: Immediately start making better decisions for your unique business. Leave equipped with actionable recommendations to translate inspiration into progress

VES Decision-Making-Strategies-590x400-560x379Experience the Power of Structured Issue Processing

My private peer advisory boards come together each month. Imagine the best and brightest minds in one room tackling business challenges and big picture strategic issues. Members see real results. My VES guests will have an opportunity to participate in issue processing. Learning how you can tap into the brainpower of 12 to 16 executives – the Vistage way – is best experienced firsthand. 

Vistage Executive Summit

More About the VES Speakers

VES 3 icon-InspirationThe irresistible power of strategic storytelling: In an increasingly connected and competitive economy, organizations are endeavoring to align their messages and influence their teams and customers to avoid losses of revenue. Leaders must not only be dynamic decision makers, but must communicate their decisions in dynamic ways. Strategic storytelling—when properly executed—is an approach that gets results. In her presentation Kindra Hall will demonstrate how strategic storytelling makes leaders more compelling and influential, serving to motivate your internal teams and connect you with consumers to build a loyal following. Leave with a blueprint for strategic storytelling you can implement into every presentation, as well as actionable tips for finding the strategic story in every leadership scenario.

VES 1 icon-LeadershipA new era of enlightened capitalism: Scott Svenson is co-founder and CEO of MOD Super Fast Pizza, recognized by Technomic as the 2015 fastest-growing restaurant chain in the U.S. MOD is a culture-centric business driven by having positive social impact. Previously, Scott co-founded Seattle Coffee Company, the first gourmet coffee retailer and wholesaler in the U.K. Scott built the business to 75 retail locations in under three years, selling the company to Starbucks in May 1998. Following the sale, he assumed the role of President – Starbucks U.K. and subsequently, President – Starbucks Europe, during which time he authored the company’s European strategic plan. Based on his own success, Scott will demonstrate how you can leverage culture and “enlightened capitalism” for key competitive advantage.

VES 2 icon-BusinessEmbracing Disruption: Every day there are more and more remarkable discoveries, inventions, and technologies. It can seem overwhelming trying to plan for every possible scenario. Industries steady and unchanged are being rocked to their core. John McElligott will help you see the unique, once-in-a-lifetime opportunities hiding in emerging technologies and philosophies, with a crash course that empowers you to answer the question: is your organization equipped to keep up? By embracing disruption, business leaders have not only the potential, but the ability to leave a legacy of changing the world.

Executive Summit Details

I’d Like to Learn More About You Before VES

Please call, text: (206) 890-6858 or email me: Elena, my EA, will also help us connect: (206) 999-9819 or

I look forward to talking,

KPM Headshot for VistageAbout Vistage Chair Kevin McKeown

Kevin McKeown is a trusted advisor to chief executives, founders, owners and executives. He is a seasoned Chair with two fully energized CEO groups. Kevin is launching an equally dynamic third group focused on key executives. He’s enrolling high integrity candidates for the remaining seats now. Kevin’s entrepreneurial and C-level leadership roles range from early stage to Fortune 500 (Mitsubishi #118) firms. As LexBlog’s President, his team built the world’s largest professional blog network. As co-founder of HitHive, Inc., Kevin’s team brought digital music to cell phones. He also helped build and sell one of the first online department stores. Kevin has a JD from Villanova University and a Bachelors in English from University of Pittsburgh. He resides in downtown Seattle. To learn more about Kevin’s Chair practice, go to his LinkedIn

Rapid Learning for Leaders: The True Cost of a Bad Hire


The point underscored by these two articles? Making bad hires is more costly than you think. What have you found? See what Barry Shamis thinks next week. A couple nuggets to chew on before then:


The True Cost Of A Bad Hire — It’s More Than You Think by Falon Fatemi, founder and CEO of Node:

  • Recruiter Jörgen Sundberg puts the cost of on-boarding an employee at $240,000.
  • SS Bombs and FiresAccording to the U.S. Department of Labor, the price of a bad hire is at least 30 percent of the employee’s first-year earnings. For a small company, a five-figure investment in the wrong person is a threat to the business.
  • While the financial impact is quantifiable, chief financial officers actually rank a bad hire’s morale and productivity impacts ahead of monetary losses. Why? A bad apple spoils the bunch, so to speak. Disengagement is contagious, which may be why employers can’t seem to defeat it.
  • Since Gallup began tracking employee engagement in 2000, less than one-third of U.S. employees report being enthusiastically involved and committed to their work.

Fatemi urges, “Go with your gut” when hiring. I suggest you challenge your gut after hearing Barry Shamis speak next week.


What Is The True Cost of Hiring a Bad Employee by Jörgen SundbergCEO of Link Humans:

“We all know that hiring the wrong employees can cost organizations a huge amount of money, but this infographic (bottom of post) presents some startling figures.”

  • Screen Shot 2017-04-01 at 3.30.20 PMWhen hiring a new employee, double check that the job description (JD) outlines exactly what you want before posting the opening and really sell what your business can offer top candidates to attract the best people.
  • As important as the technical skills are to complete the job, it’s also crucial to assess how well the individual would fit into your environment.
  • If their personality does not suit your organization, it is unlikely that they will stay for long and it may cause conflicts amongst your team. If you’re not sure about a candidate, ask other members of staff to help you to make the decision.
  • Don’t just hire anyone to fill the spot, it’s best to take your time over hiring decisions and consider it carefully to ensure that you find the right candidate for the position.

Sundberg only mentions a JD. I suggest you ask Barry Shamis why a JD isn’t enough. Ask him why a Success Profile ensures a better hire.

Remember that Will Rogers sally? “Good judgment comes from experience, and a lot of that comes from bad judgment.” What’s your most expensive hiring mistake? What will you different next time? How might you improve your hiring judgment?



What is Your Peer (and Leadership) Superpower?


Our chief executive peer group – Photo by Vistage Chair, Kevin McKeown © (All Rights Reserved)

No doubt you arrived at my blog after receiving a handwritten card. That note of gratitude promised an answer to this question: do you wonder what we treasure most about you?

Before I answer, let’s deconstruct how you ended up in our peer “discovery” group. First, we stripped away title; we imagined you powerless. Second, we saw a person plowing into feelings, thoughts and beliefs about leadership. Third, we experienced each other with all our foibles over a series of purposeful conversations. Fourth, we built relatedness around impactful legacy. You checked all the boxes necessary for a dynamic peer group:

  • Noncompeting business
  • Wired different from fellow peers
  • Novel perspectives and contrasting views
  • Penetrating insights fueled by a mélange of experience
  • Willingness to face issues, problems, challenges, and opportunities head-on

Finally, instinct took over and TOGETHER we decided the fit was right.

So, what do we TREASURE most about you?


Kevin McKeown©

We like how you show up. We enjoy the flavor you bring. We love how you listen. We observe passion, intellect and heart shared in ways that are uncommon, exclusive and singular to you. You are distinctive. An original. Special. Remarkable. Watching you dig inspires. We see magic fill the room when you lead with your voice.

Your decision to grow as a leader – and join our group as a pathway for that growth – transcends. You remind us to look inside to find our own way. Letting us wander with you on your journey influences us to take a step toward our own development. That’s what we treasure about you. You command us to act – to discover the source of our own magic. You inspire a valuable way for us to be.

Don’t believe us?

The likelihood of you being born as YOU is 1 in 400 trillion. The universe conspired to make you extraordinary. You being quintessentially you is indispensable for that transforming, compassionate ilk of leadership you offer. Being exposed to you is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity. The power in peers is YOU. We show up every month for YOU. We want access to your intellect, your heart, your passion, your drive.

IMG_3151Your way of leading is that rare and that’s grace. We need you. The world needs you. May you find and never lose your own vibe. But if you do – no worries – your peers will remind you who you really are through trust, caring, challenge and growth.

Now, let’s go bend the future to our will. Getting it done is genius!

Feel the ripple,

P.S. May you always be led by what you love.

I’m Reading:

Hiring in a New Economy – CEO Workshop – by Barry Shamis


4-5-17 SS FLYER

To reserve your seat, please call or text me: 206.890.6858 or email: Seating is limited.


Does peer group make sense? Let’s talk and decide together.

Group Overhead Vistage Photo

Vistage Peer Group Meeting

What’s Vistage? It all starts with a group.

Put 12-14 high performing business executives in a room and the potential is enormous. A Chair ensures that every bit of that wisdom and experience is a applied in the meeting.

An expert guides the meetings.

I’m a facilitator, guide and coach. I help stimulate thinking, frame issues, guide discussions, and limit tangents and ensure accountability in the group. I’m also an accomplished leader.

ArrowI took on the Chair role with the express purpose of helping you build a great (or greater) company.

The topics can be intense.

When you run a business, even the simplest decisions have profound implications.

In a Vistage group, no topic is off limits. If you are willing to talk candidly about the tough decisions you face, fellow members will rally around you, listen and ask tough questions and bring to bear every resource they have to help you solve problems and seize opportunities.

Whether the question is strategic, operational, financial, legal, structural or even personal, your Vistage group is a confidential forum of experienced executives who rely on each other for wisdom, advice and counsel.

Pasted Image 0Watch ideas and answers start to flow.

Come to a meeting. Experience firsthand how a professional facilitated peer advisory board helps you:

  • Become a better leader
  • Make better decisions
  • Get better results

Be my guest.

We meet the first Wednesday and Thursday of each month. Come to the 4/5/17 or 4/6/17 meeting as my guest.

Make sure to call me.

To hold a seat, please call or text: 206.890.6858 or email:

To learn more about my Chair practice, please go to my LinkedIn. Let’s connect.

I look forward to conversing,

Truth, Alternative Facts, 1984, Liars, and Leadership

Inauguration Day 2009 2017

My unplanned thoughts after hearing about this news story: Alternative Facts: Trump Adviser Conway Stirs Mockery, Concern (click for humorous memes).

“He who controls the past controls the future. He who controls the present controls the past.”
George Orwell, 1984

A short story:

Liar to Reporter:

These are alternative facts.

You mean lies?

Yes, lies. I’ll be truthful—I’m hoping that these are believable lies.

Orwell poster_1984_lrgA shorter story:

Bend over, Truth.

F@#k you, Alternative Facts.

These “alternative facts” one-liners keep playing in my mind…

“If you want to keep a secret, you must also hide it from yourself.”
George Orwell, 1984

Alternative Facts:

  1. Cheat on our relationship with the truth–don’t be seduced by fiction masquerading as fact.
  2. Are as dangerous and toxic as the cancer-causing artificial sweeteners in food.
  3. Is the virtual reality game–played by narcissistic sociopaths everywhere.
  4. Is Alien-speak for you’re dumb and gullible and I’m not.
  5. The no interest, dumb-ass card–what is in your reality?
  6. Lie, cheat and steal–don’t let the truth get taken.
  7. Seek to murder truth. Don’t be an accomplice.
  8. The remedy for inconvenient truths.
  9. Will always prove me right.
  10. The pick-pocket of truth.

    Writer George Orwell, author of the novel 1984, which portrays a dictatorship that imposes its own facts. Uncredited/AP

    Writer George Orwell, author of the novel 1984, which portrays a dictatorship that imposes its own facts.

“But if thought corrupts language, language can also corrupt thought.”
George Orwell, 1984

“Alternative facts” is not just a turn of phrase. Lying is not a strategy. Leaders don’t lie. Real leaders don’t disseminate easy-to-disprove or hard-to-disprove falsehoods through followers. Being truthful is synonymous with leadership.

What’s happening on the national stage is a milkshake of funny, surreal and scary. That’s my “alternative facts” rant; maybe I’ll fall asleep now.

P.S. This isn’t a political post. I view what’s happening through the lens of effective leadership. No more, no less. I’ll leave religion, politics, and sex to the experts.

Featured Image (top): Side-by-Side Images Show 2009 Inauguration Compared to 2017 (NBC News)

Selecting Seattle CEOs for 2nd Peer Advisory Board

Vistage Group Example

The most effective CEOs work on (NOT in) the business.

These CEOs understand and value strategic solitude and deep thought. These CEOs constantly gather insight from new and unfiltered sources. You won’t find these CEOs on the tactical treadmill to nowhere. These CEOs don’t get caught in an echo chamber. These CEOs are not lonely and isolated. These CEOs seek out ways to manage the stress and fatigue of the job. These CEOs join and become valuable members of peer advisory groups. These CEOs connect with other CEOs and build deep bonds of trust. They lead powerfully. They get results faster. They are just a whole lot happier professionally and personally. They understand like Joseph Roux that, “Solitude vivifies; isolation kills.”

Who am I?

I am a seasoned Vistage Chair with a fully energized peer advisory group of 16 CEOs. I’m building an equally dynamic second chief executive group in the Seattle Metro area. My second group launches this Spring, and I’m taking applications for remaining seats now. Are you a candidate? Read on to find out.

Work On (NOT In) the businessAre you a leader working ON or IN your business?

Every CEO, president, founder, or business owner aims to accomplish more in their business, fix something internally or avoid a costly mistake. Imagine a dozen or more fellow CEOs and business owners sharing their advice and perspectives on your challenges and opportunities. Vistage peer advisory groups helps CEOs grow their businesses by outpacing their competition, hiring top talent, and establishing a better work-life balance.

As a result, Vistage member companies grow at 3x the rate of average U.S. companies.

My Selection Process

A critical part of my Chairing is to select, vet, and invite only the highest quality members to join my CEO peer advisory groups. I look for candidates with these Member Attributes.

The Mutual Selection Journey is a guided process to help us explore chemistry with each other and within the peer group. My ASK? If you’re serious about leadership growth – if you’re ready to take your company to the next level – then commit to these actions:

  1. Visit to reserve your seat for my CEO Breakfast Forum on February 28, 2017.
  2. Talk with me for 10-minutes by phone. I want to understand your opportunities and challenges.
  3. Meet me in your office for 30-45 minutes. I want to get a sense for what drives you.
  4. If asked, commit to a 90-minute selection interview free of interruptions and distractions.
  5. If offered a seat in the group–answer, “Hell yes!” or “Hell no!” Don’t say, “Maybe.”

I’ll be considerate of your time, and I expect the same from you. Let’s get to know each other. The power of peers is a game-changer for you. If you are selected you will embark on a remarkable journey — not because of me — but because of extraordinary chief executive peers surrounding you.

Your consider points as Vistage candidate...

More information

I look forward to helping you evaluate this opportunity, gain new perspectives and discover a renewed sense of direction. These links will give you a better sense of Vistage membership: 

You can review these videos and flyer in under 10 minutes.

Let’s Talk

Call me: 206.890.6858. Email me: To learn more about my Chair practice, go to my LinkedIn. Let’s connect.

Related Reading

Thanks Seattle Network, Vistage, Colleagues, CEOs, and LinkedIn


I write to express gratitude. Earlier this month, my Vistage CEO Peer Group welcomed member sixteen. I also signed the first member for my second CEO Group. Group two launches in the Spring of 2017.

No success is achieved alone. 

The ongoing counsel and encouragement of Tom Zahniser, Sarah Fraedrich, MK (Murthy Kalkura) and Tim Call help me in innumerable ways. THANK YOU! I am also inspired by the support and collegial spirit among my fellow Chairs and Vistage colleagues Nathan Hoover and Hannah Cates. I am backed by a strong team. Thanks so much Cara McDonald, Christine Masonthank-you-noteGaly Vega, and Elena Nelson. I deeply appreciate your hard work and commitment to my CEO members and Chair practice. And, Colleen McKenna and Doug Donnelly–and crew–thanks for having my back.

Throughout the year, I saw the power of a great network in life and on LinkedIn. You rallied for me. You shared great insights. You helped me accomplish some audacious goals by connecting me with Seattle chief executives, CEOs, presidents, founders and business owners. How do I thank you? I’ll find a way…

I’m in a place where calling and passion are aligned. I am humbled. I am fortunate to be working with CEOs in a “ready state” for personal and professional leadership growth. Doing the work of a Chair would not be possible without my CEO members. You are the knights of the round table. You are powerful CEO peer advisors to each other. And, I deeply appreciate your support, encouragement, and post-meeting libations.

So, how about this New Year’s wish?

  • Unlock potential
  • Take determined action
  • Choose abundance over scarcity

Intention ALWAYS prevails. Let’s all kick ass in 2017. Let’s all fail gleefully into success. Have a relaxing, joyful holiday season. I am because of YOU.

Butterfly Image for LCUAbout Kevin McKeown and his Vistage Chair Practice: Kevin is a trusted advisor to CEOs, founders, owners and other key executives. He is a seasoned Chair with a fully energized group of 16 CEOs and is currently working to build an equally dynamic second CEO group. His entrepreneurial and C-level leadership roles range from early stage to Fortune 500 (Mitsubishi) firms. As LexBlog’s President, Kevin’s team built the world’s largest professional blog network. As co-founder of HitHive, Inc., his team brought digital music to cell phones. Kevin also helped build and sell one of the first online department stores. He has a JD from Villanova University and a Bachelors in English from University of Pittsburgh. Kevin lives in downtown Seattle. His blog is Leadership Close Up. Kevin’s top five Gallup Strengths: Strategic • Ideation • Command • Individualization • Achiever