Dave McKeown, Leading with Authenticity – InnovaBuzz 331

Dave McKeown

Dave McKeown, Outfield Leadership

In this episode, I’m really excited to have as my guest, Dave McKeown who 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 Self-Evolved Leader.

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. As Founder and CEO of Outfield Leadership, Dave now speaks, coaches and trains on moving from execution to excellence. His goal is to help organizations build a culture of real, authentic and ultimately results-driven leadership. Dave is also host of the “Lead Like You Give a Damn” podcast.

In our discussion, Dave and I talked about:

  • Increased complexity requires true leadership and true leadership requires vulnerability and curiosity
  • How relationships and humanity are core to true leadership
  • That innovation has an underlying process, which can be learned and replicated

Listen to the podcast to find out more.

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A self-evolved leader is someone who pursues excellence in leadership just for the sake of it because there is value and goodness in that. @DaveMcKeown on #InnovaBuzz podcast Share on X

Show Notes from this episode with Dave McKeown of Outfield Leadership

Key points and takeaways from this episode include:

  • Leadership is a calling that is worthy of its own approach to how you can better yourself.
  • The most effective leaders take ownership of their own growth and development. 
  • A self-evolved leader is someone who pursues excellence in leadership just for the sake of it because there is value and goodness in that.
  • Be specific on the goals and outcomes that you want. Put into practice the things that you know you should be developing.
  • Leadership is helping a group of two or more people achieve common goals.
  • Be intentional about the path that you are seeking and the rest will follow.
  • Build a team of heroes rather than you being the center of the universe. Build a culture of leadership in your organisation that is more focused on helping your team set and attain their shared goals, and in doing so, they develop to become the best version of themselves. 
  • You know you’ve done your job as a great leader when you’re looking at your to-do list and there’s not a lot more for you to do because your team is already doing it for you.
  • Your value in the organisation doesn’t come from you being the hero. It comes from you helping your team to achieve their shared goals and to develop into the best version of themselves.
  • The world right now needs and requires more authentic leadership, and it all comes down to leading through vulnerability.
  • A leader at any level of an organisation should have a vision with their team for where they are going. Anybody who comes to work on a daily basis should understand why they do what they do every day, and where it’s leading up to.
  • Getting your team to co-create the vision with you dramatically increases the likelihood that they will give ownership and accountability to what it is that you are trying to achieve because they are a part of it.
  • Having a living and breathing vision statement is an integral part of your team.
  • The real hard work begins when you’ve got your vision statement.
  • Your job as a leader is to constantly reinforce and recommunicate your vision at every opportunity that you get.
  • Have the certainty in your ability as a leader to say, “I don’t know”, and to adjust your assumptions. 
  • In a world of unknowns, all you can do is to accept the fact that what we knew yesterday is no longer true today.
  • A leader who holds on to maintaining the status quo or who wants to be a certain way is less than helpful.
  • Having the ability to see unhelpful and inequitable power structures in your organisation, to see where minority represented people are being held up in their growth is a huge part of being a leader.
  • We are all connected in some way. Our service to each other will ultimately serve our clients, which will ultimately serve our community, which will ultimately create a better world.
  • Leading through a crisis is having the ability to craft a plan that will help us get through the short term, and then rebuilding that through the medium and long-term, knowing that the plan is going to have to change and shift over time, and we have to be very agile.
  • Leading through vulnerability is not being weak. It is just literally showing up as a human being. 
  • Ego drives everything we do but it is also a weak place to be. 
  • There is strength in saying, “I am listening.”
  • Change is a scary thing, and change at a fundamental level of your belief is even scarier, but it’s a good thing. If you start questioning a belief that you’ve had, you’ll definitely end up in a better place.
  • There is power in being curiosity-driven and less advice driven. When you take a moment to be really curious about something that is in front of you, whether it’s a challenge or an obstacle, and you involve people in the journey of discovery, the likelihood of you stumbling upon a better answer is way higher. Taking the time to be curious increases the quality of your decisions. 
  • Gut is a very narrow frame to look at things. Taking the time to question your assumptions enables you to implement your decisions more quickly because you would already have considered a lot of options. Slow down on your decision making so you can get back to make decisions quickly.
We are all connected in some way. Our service to each other will ultimately serve our clients, which will ultimately serve our community, which will ultimately create a better world. @DaveMcKeown on #InnovaBuzz podcast Share on X

The Buzz – Our Innovation Round

Here are Dave’s answers to the questions of our innovation round. Listen to the conversation to get the full scoop.

  1. #1 thing to be more innovative – View innovation as a process and not as a behaviour. Go and find out more about innovative processes. 
  2. Best thing for new ideas – Getting customer feedback very early on and very often.
  3. Favourite tool for innovation – Asana
  4. Keep project/client on track – Lean in to the relationship that you have with that person. Have a shared vision and come up with a collaborative solution for how you can move that forward.
  5. Differentiate – Find your unique voice. Find something that is uniquely you in how you communicate.

To Be a Leader

Control what you can control, and don’t worry about the rest. Take a moment to understand where that circle of control is that you have and operate in that area. Push against the boundaries of what you can control because that is where real change happens.

Reach Out

You can reach out and thank Dave through his website.

Suggested Guest

Dave suggested we have a conversation with Michael Bungay-Stanier. So Michael, keep an eye on your inbox for an invitation from us to the InnovaBuzz podcast, courtesy of Dave McKeown.


Cool Things About Dave

  • He’s a native of Ireland and now resides in Southern California.
  • He has been described as the ‘perfect mix between “Simon Sinek and Gary Vaynerchuk.”
  • He’s a Program Leader at Box of Crayons and is a volunteer coach at the Executive Coaches of Orange County.
Control what you can control, and don't worry about the rest. @DaveMcKeown on #InnovaBuzz podcast Share on X

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Jürgen Strauss

Dr. Jürgen Strauss is The World's Best Human-Centred Podcasting Coach and the only Podcast Innovator with the signature bright yellow headphones, who masterfully crafts human connection for high-impact achievers in a vibrant community. You can find Jürgen on LinkedIn, The InnovaBuzz Podcast, The Flywheel Nation Community as well as on Innovabiz' InstagramTwitter, Facebook pages and his personal Photography website.  

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