Begin With WE: From Executive to Author – Inside Kyle McDowell’s Mission to Rid Corporate America of Its Toxic Ways
TAMPA, FL–With the release of Begin With We: 10 Principles for Building and Sustaining a Culture of Excellence, leadership expert Kyle McDowell aims to redefine and inspire corporate America with his framework for authentic, effective leadership. McDowell, one of the foremost authorities on corporate culture transformation, has delivered keynotes to tens of thousands of people around the United States. The 10 WEs, his guiding leadership principles, have made his book a bestseller on USA Today and Wall Street Journal and in nine categories on Amazon. The root cause of corporate dysfunction, he says, cannot be addressed with technology or better processes alone. Instead, the solution is more fundamental: leaders must value empathy over fear and inspire members of the team to see the value in “WE,” not “me.”
For nearly thirty years, McDowell spent his corporate career leading teams in uber competitive and highly challenging environments, including the operational bailout of several states that were struggling to implement the Affordable Care Act. He also led thousands of employees at massive organizations like GDIT, Maximus, and CVS Health.
As successful as he was at the top of corporate America, McDowell found himself apathetic and unfulfilled.
“I had everything career-wise that I thought I should have. I had achieved more in my career than I imagined possible. But I drank the corporate kool-aid and lost my optimism, passion, and energy. As a result, I couldn’t be the kind of leader that everyone really needed,” McDowell recalls. “I was leading through fear, control, and every other tactic we’ve all been so unfortunate to witness first-hand. I was a good boss who delivered good results… but I wasn’t a good leader. More and more, I started to notice my teams were coming to work with fear in their hearts. But I always thought there had to be a better way, and it started with me choosing to become a better leader.”
He decided to leave behind the big paycheck and golden handcuffs, launching his passion project: Kyle McDowell Inc., a global speaking, leadership, and cultural transformation firm committed to developing authentic and courageous leaders who have a passion for cultivating a better, WE-oriented work life.
Creating the 10 WEs, McDowell reveals, ultimately came down to one question: what did he want his “leadership legacy” to be?
“I told myself that the next job opportunity that afforded me complete autonomy and ownership of an organization, I would do things very differently. I wanted to be conspicuous about what the team should expect from me and what types of behavior would be expected and rewarded inside our organization. It would be important to deemphasize ‘me’ and my role and to focus almost exclusively on the talent and impact the ‘WE’ could represent,” he says. “I wanted more collaboration and direct ownership than I’d seen in my past. I wanted the members of my team to know their value and feel appreciated.”
When the opportunity surfaced in 2016, McDowell recognized this as a pivotal moment in his career journey. The night before he was scheduled to deliver a speech to the top 50 leaders within his new, 15K person organization, with no pre-planning, thoughts of starting his own firm, and certainly no idea he would go on to write a bestseller, he crafted The 10 WEs, his guiding principles for life and leadership that include:
1. WE do the right thing. Always.
2. WE lead by example.
3. WE say what WE’re going to do. Then WE do it.
4. WE take action.
5. WE own our mistakes.
6. WE pick each other up.
7. WE measure ourselves by outcomes. Not activity.
8. WE challenge each other.
9. WE embrace challenge.
10. WE obsess over details.
Begin With WE and McDowell’s message have been well-received by executives in industries as diverse as athletics, healthcare, tech, and even education. His down-to-earth, candid approach to long-lasting employee relationships along with the book’s vivid storytelling and real-life examples speak to leaders of companies of all sizes. With so many people grappling with apathy about their jobs, it is the right book for the times.
“One of the biggest mistakes today’s leaders make is subscribing to the old, outdated leadership playbook,” McDowell believes. “The workplace and how we even define work are changing every day. More than ever, people want to make an impact and do work that matters. And I think it’s the leader’s obligation to enable and unlock their potential. When you lead with integrity and authenticity, your team will rally behind you. When the team knows you care more about their growth and development, trust is secured and results speak for themselves. You end up building a legacy that lasts well beyond your tenure with any organization.”
Kyle McDowell is an author, speaker, and leadership expert with nearly three decades of experience leading tens of thousands of employees at some of the biggest companies in the United States. With an MBA from the Kellogg School of Management at Northwestern University, Kyle is widely known for his inspiring approaches to transforming bosses into leaders and reshaping corporate cultures.
Today, McDowell is regularly invited to speak at business, educational, and nonprofit institutions and events. He’s been featured in major national publications, such as the Wall Street Journal, Forbes, Entrepreneur, and Inc. Magazine. His bestselling book, Begin With We: 10 Principles for Building and Sustaining a Culture of Excellence, is available wherever books are sold, including Amazon.
For more information about the services offered by Kyle McDowell Inc., please follow McDowell on Instagram, LinkedIn, Facebook, TikTok, and YouTube using @KyleMcDowellInc or contact: