Beau Keyte learned very early on about the uniqueness of people, and by extension, the uniqueness of every organization. Raised in tiny Bradford, Pennsylvania, his home was part of an exchange program that brought individuals from literally the four corners of the globe to live in his home for brief periods. “By the time I was 15,” he says, “We had hosted 12-15 exchange students in our home, and I had even taught a Kuwaiti teenager to speak English.”
He also learned a great deal from his father, a welding engineer in high demand after the war, who ran four manufacturing plants from his base at the Bradford plant. “He traveled a lot to the other plants in Alabama and Belgium,” says Beau. “And even though he was in management, he got along great with the unions for one simple reason. He made a point of getting to know everyone. They and their opinions mattered very much to him.”
With his background as a guide and his father as a role model, Beau set out to build a career, one that not surprisingly has required him to adapt quickly to different corporate cultures, and get to know the people in them. After graduating with a B.S. in engineering from the University of Michigan, Beau has continued to learn and add tools to his consulting kit to make him more effective in these endeavors, acquiring an MBA, and gaining invaluable experience in a variety of companies.
In 2003, he was hand-picked to work on a high-profile General Motors project led by Lean Thinking guru and pioneer John Shook. After finishing their work together with GM, John, Beau, and five others formed the core of Lean Transformations Group. Beau left LTG in 2014 and continues his work through the Keyte Group.
Beau truly loves what he does, helping organizations find their own way by doing what he does best - listening, teaching, coaching, and facilitating. His interactions are high energy and effective, and yet he says he is actually doing his best work when he seems invisible. In fact, one of his all-time favorite moments involved a client who told him that they had learned more from each other in their session together than they did from him. “It made me feel good that they were comfortable telling me that,” he says, “And, it made me better understand how effective one can be without grabbing the spotlight. It was great to hear because I strive to make that happen every time.”
When asked about the one thing he would change in companies these days, he echoes his father’s democratic view of the importance and value of everyone: “If I could, I’d change management’s perceptions about front line people and affirm for them what a great resource they can be if you just give them a chance, and empower them to help solve their problems. A big part of why I love the Lean principles is that they aspire to do just that.”
Beau lives in Ann Arbor, Michigan with his wife, Debi.