Wherever senior executives gather to talk about accelerating corporate growth—Keith McFarland has spoken there. 

Corporate clients include Microsoft, Morgan Stanley, Charles Schwab, National Re, Johnson & Johnson, Prudential, BAE Systems, and House of Blues.  He has been keynote speaker at the national meeting of the Association for Corporate Growth (ACG), as well as the Korea Trade Association, NACM, the AICCU, APPICU, and countless other industry and trade associations and chambers of commerce.  He has spoken to more than 70 Young Presidents Organization (YPO) chapters—was a keynote at YPO’s Global Leadership Conference, and won YPO’s “Best of the Best” award—for the best business-related event globally in 2008.  He has also been the keynote speaker at more than twenty all-city events for Vistage.  He has headlined the Inc. 500 Conference on three occasions.

Built for Speed:  Driving Your Company’s Ability to Adapt

One of the most important distinguishing characteristics of a breakthrough company is the speed with which the company adapts. This session explores how leaders can increase velocity and adaptability by throwing out the traditional strategic planning model and replacing it with a dynamic strategy model that enables the firm to adapt on the fly and to focus the business on the twenty percent of the activities most likely to create eighty percent of the results.  (Available as keynote speech or as a four-hour executive workshop).

Olympians, Commandos, and CEOs—Keys to Performance Under Pressure

Rapid growth is stressful, both on the individual and on the organization as a whole.  Managing personal and organizational stress turns out to be one of the most important factors in running a high-growth company.  Olympic athletic teams and military commando units have for decades used The Attentional and Interpersonal Style (TAIS) Inventory to optimize performance in high-pressure situations.  This same tool has proven very effective in also improving the performance of growth company managers and executives (Two-hour workshop).

Bounce: Leading in Tough Times

Great companies aren’t built during the good times—they are built in times of adversity—when the old ways of doing things aren’t working so well.  It is during these times that companies open themselves up to new ways of thinking and are in a position to initiate a step-change that can radically transform their potential.  Effective leadership during these periods is the critical factor that determines whether a company will come out of a period of adversity wounded, or stronger than ever.  (This session is built around Keith’s book Bounce:  The Art of Turning Tough Times into Triumph.


How to Crash an Inc. 500 Company:  Lessons Best Learned Vicariously

In his early 30s Keith took over a two-time Inc. 500 Company that was out of cash, was facing a default notice from its bank, and was facing the threat of a lawsuits from its newest shareholders.  Over the next eighteen months he and his new management team cut costs by 60%, repositioned the company with a new set of products, and eventually sold the business to a leading private equity firm.  The experience taught him four fundamental lessons to managing a company in good times and bad.