Predictable Success | Les McKeown

Summary of: Predictable Success: Getting Your Organization on the Growth Track–And Keeping It There
By: Les McKeown


Welcome to the engaging world of ‘Predictable Success: Getting Your Organization on the Growth Track—And Keeping It There’ by Les McKeown. In this book summary, we will explore the concept of predictable success—a state where a business consistently meets its goals, regardless of its age, size, or finances. You will learn how strong management can guide a company through the different stages of growth and help it reach a state of predictable success. By understanding the challenges and potential pitfalls each stage presents, you can navigate your business effectively and ensure lasting success.

Achieving Predictable Success

Business success is often attributed to sheer luck, making it impossible to predict or achieve consistently. However, Little & Co. and other successful companies have proven that predictable success is attainable, regardless of age, size, or finances. The key to this success is strong management with a clear vision and unwavering commitment to a set path. Effective leaders prioritize assessing problems and responding optimally to minimize drama and maintain a calm state, like flowing water. In the following sections, this book shows how companies can embody this style of management and achieve predictable success.

The Path to Predictable Success

To achieve predictable success, companies must follow a process and navigate through three stages. The first stage involves addressing two critical issues – whether there are enough buyers for the product and whether there is enough cash to pay bills. To move beyond this stage, companies must aim to have three times as much cash as they think they need. The second stage is the fun stage, where companies experience rapid growth and increased revenue. However, they must resist overspending and navigate through the third stage to achieve predictable success. Overall, the book emphasizes the importance of following a process and making smart financial decisions to succeed.

Navigating the Whitewater

In the growth stages of a business, there comes a point where decision-making and execution become more difficult. This stage is known as whitewater and mistakes become more common. The inability to keep up with demand can lead to unhappy customers and negative reviews. However, effective management can help any company get out of this stage. The key is to ensure that the sales and operations teams are working closely and that customer expectations are managed appropriately. A woodworker named Ian was able to get out of the whitewater stage and achieve predictable success by fine-tuning his communication and feedback system. While maintaining predictable success in the long-term can be challenging, the following summaries will show how it’s possible.

The Pitfalls of Predictable Success

Achieving predictable success is not a guarantee for an organization’s longevity. Challenges like the treadmill, big rut, and death rattle can still occur. Companies may fall into the treadmill phase, becoming overly dependent on established systems and losing their creative streak. Bureaucracy can further lead to the big rut, causing businesses to lose sight of their mission. Eventually, failure to innovate can cause the death rattle, signifying the end of the company. To maintain longevity, organizations need to find a balance between consistency and innovation.

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