Episode 132: Ron Macklin – Changing the Stories We Tell Ourselves – Rethinking Team Culture & the Art of Connection

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Welcome to Episode #132 of “The Builders” podcast, hosted by me, Matt Levenhagen. In this engaging episode, I sit down with Ron, a recovering engineer turned team builder, who has set out to change the stories we tell ourselves. Our conversation isn't just about transforming team culture; it's about redefining the very art of connection and openness within teams.

Join us as Ron shares lessons on building trust, nurturing relationships, fostering creativity, and embracing change. We explore questions like, “What stories shape our culture?” and “How can we free ourselves from narratives that no longer serve us?” This isn't just a podcast episode; it's an invitation to discover who you want to be within your team and as a leader. Subscribe and tune in for actionable insights and stories that will challenge you to think differently about yourself, your team, and the culture you cultivate.

Ron Macklin

Ron Macklin is the president of Macklin Connection, overseeing our programs and extending the reach of the organization worldwide.

Ron realized early in his engineering career that he had a passion for building and leading teams. And he realized that to succeed, he needed to build a deep network of support. He needed to learn why people connect and how they create results together. This realization led him on a 30-year journey that culminated in the creation of the 7-step Macklin Method and the launch of Macklin Connection.

Ron earned a degree in engineering from Kansas State University and quickly grew into leadership positions in his budding career. He grew to lead teams that set nine world records and won dozens of customer satisfaction awards. At Siemens, for example, Ron led a support division with 350 employees that worked over 5 million hours without a lost-time injury and was voted “the best place to work in Houston” by the Houston Business Journal.

Twice Ron has created a growth culture responsible for increasing profits by $20 million, and has led seven different groups from worst- to best-in-class. Today, he is the president of Macklin Connection, overseeing our programs and extending the reach of the organization worldwide. He continues to lead programs and coach teams and individuals. A Wichita, Kansas native, Ron and his wife Koni have three adult children, Garrett, Lorin and Brennan.


  • Introduction
    • Recovering Engineer: A Journey from Projects to People
    • What Leading Teams Taught Ron
  • The Genesis of Connection
    • Football and Teamwork
    • Building a Brand: Turbine Warriors
    • Understanding Connection & Building Networks
  • Creating a Culture of Trust and Openness
    • Safe Spaces for Ideas
    • The Power of Authenticity
    • From ‘Scared Guy' to Courageous Team Player
  • Education and Transformation
    • Why Teach Others? A New Perspective on Learning
    • Building a Course to Help Others
    • Leaders Learn the Most: Teaching as Growth
  • Cultivating Culture within the Business
    • Beyond Fear: Inviting Exploration
    • Working Together: How Individual Stories Shape Culture
    • A Lesson from Matt's Goatee: Deciding It's OK
  • Freeing People from Their Stories
    • Making the Choice to Change
    • Creating Who You Want to Be
    • The Wisdom of the Horse: Guidance & Timing
  • A New Philosophy on Team Building
    • You Don't Always Need Different People
    • Setting World Records with Existing Teams
    • Pride and Learning: A Delicate Balance

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Matt Levenhagen
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