What’s the Better Core Values Acronym: SEAR or ARSE?

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Remembering Your Core Values / Which Acronym is better SEAR or ARSE? / #GetInSynk / Michael Synk / In-Synk

You’ve identified your core values for your company. What comes next? One of the best things you can do with your list of core values is to organize them into an acronym in order to make them memorable and repeatable. I recommend this to all of my strategic planning clients.

Recently, I was particularly amused and delighted. One of my clients came up with not only one acronym but two for the same set of core values.

The original was SEAR. It stands for Sustainabilty from farms to families, Exceed the need, All for one, and Relationships not transactions. It’s a pretty good acronym. SEAR is easy to remember. It’s also tied to their specific business which is a cooperative for farmers growing pasture raised beef, pork and chicken. Very clever, don’t you think?

Why the second acronym, ARSE?  Because, the pick and pack and processing staff just couldn’t really relate to it. They did relate to “Don’t be an ARSE, live these core values.” Different acronym, but it’s the same core values. All for one, Relationships not transactions, Sustainability from farms to families, and Exceed the need just put a different way.

Core values need to be communicated in a way that engages your employees. For the management staff, SEAR worked well but didn’t work so well for the processing staff. That team connected with ARSE.

Pick up a copy of my book Rock & Sand for a deeper dive into core values and building company culture and how all that fits into a strategic plan.

Just for fun, comment with your vote for the acronym that you connect with more. Do you like SEAR or ARSE better? Also, let me know if your company has a particularly good acronym for remembering core values.

Is Your Company “Satisfactorily Underperforming”?

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Is Your Company Satisfactorily Underperforming? #GetInSynk

“Satisfactorily Underperforming” It’s a new term for me from Greg Brennaman, turnaround expert extraordinaire.

I heard him speak for the second time at the Gazelles Growth Summit in Dallas a few of weeks ago. Caught my attention.

Brennaman has successfully lead turnarounds at Continental Airlines, Burger King, and Home Depot.  All of these companies had lost sight of what they needed to do to succeed and were steps away from failure.  I relate these as credentials so that you know that he knows what he is talking about.

During his keynote address, he mentioned that there is another class of companies. He talked about businesses that are not headed to the toilet but are in need of a turnaround.  Those would be what he calls “satisfactorily underperforming” companies. He contends that perhaps the majority of companies in America fall into this category.

“We think they are doing just fine. But, because we’ve never subjected them to a complete checkup, we don’t realize that they have seriously  clogged arteries, (or a malfunctioning gall bladder ;-)…From the outside, all seems well.”

“They live from quarterly earnings report to quarterly earnings report. Although their performances, revenues, and profits all appear tolerable, even adequate, in reality they are performing at levels far below their full capabilities.”

So, how do you know if your company is in this category? You may be only “satisfactorily underperforming” when you could be doing so much more. Why don’t you get a check up or tune-up?

In-Synk offers a menu of tune-ups to help you start the process of getting out of the “satisfactorily underperforming” category.

Choose a Cash Flow Analysis and Tune-Up, a Talent Review and Tune-Up, or a Key Processes Review and Tune-Up or all three combined give you a Complete Business Tune-Up.  Click here for more information.

Any one of the tune-ups are good starting points for turning around your “satisfactorily underperforming” business.

What I Learned From My Doctor About Leading

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What My Doctor Taught Me About Leading - Michael Synk - #GetInSynk - In-Synk

What I learned from my doctor about leading comes from something he said to me, “Medicine is 95% history and 5% knowledge and technique.”

Before I get ahead of myself, let me tell the story behind this story.  I went to my doctor on a late Friday afternoon.  Feeling funny and feeling sore in my side, I also had a noticeable palpation on my stomach when I laid down.  No pain.  No symptoms of any other sort.  I just that I knew something wasn’t quite right.  And it hadn’t slowed me down any.  The day before I had conducted a workshop in St. Louis to rave reviews.

My doctor, Jeff Warren, MD was concerned.  Couldn’t really get a handle on what was going on.  That’s when he decided to do a more complete history.  We sat down together and went over, in detail, every medical situation I had gone through in the the past 30 years.  When we got to the burst appendix that I had 26 years ago, it all started to make sense to Warren.  “It’s your gall bladder and it definitely isn’t right. You are going to the hospital right now.” He called Methodist University Hospital, checked me in, and ordered the tests that would confirm his diagnosis.  The next morning I had my enlarged, infected and blocked gall bladder removed.

On my next doctor’s visit, Warren repeated what he said.  I asked him to explain.

He said he was confused about the situation, but it was only by taking a thorough history that allowed him to be able to sort things out.

Let me translate this into regular language.  It was only by asking tons of questions, and listening intently and completely, that he was he able to figure it out.

What I learned from Warren is something we can all do better, especially when leading. Listen.  Listen intently and deeply.  Listen completely, and do all that listening before taking action or suggesting a solution or offering advice.

Here’s my quote:

“Leadership is 95% listening and 5% deciding on and implementing actions.”

Are you doing enough listening?

2 Books That Will Change What You Think About Teams and How You Lead Them

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Two Books to Change What You Think About Teams and How You Lead Them - #GetInSynk - Better Team Leaders

I just finished reading two books that changed what I think about teams and how one should lead them.  If you read these books, it will change your mind on these things as well.

Both books are by Pat Lencioni.  Recently, I attended the Gazelles Growth Summit in Dallas to recharge my batteries. During this event, Pat certainly charged my batteries with his keynote address that covered the content of these two books.  Moved and inspired, I walked right up to the bookstore at the summit and bought both of them.

The first book is The Ideal Team Player, which he just released. This business fable (with the core content reviewed in the back, just all his previous books) walks the reader through the three core virtues a team player must have to be a great team player and a great member of teams.

Ideal team players must be humble, must be hungry, and must be smart about dealing with people.  Furthermore, the book goes on to explain both how to hire people with these virtues, and how to build them within the members of your team so they can become better team players.  In today’s world as technology progresses and eliminates the need for many special skill sets, teamwork becomes increasingly important.

Get it. Read it. Put it into play, and improve your company’s teamwork capabilities.

The second book, The Truth About Employee Engagement, is an older book from 2008. Also like his new book, it is also a business fable. This book outlines what a leader must to do get individuals engaged in their jobs, even if the job is a mundane, unexciting job (which quite frankly are the kinds of jobs most people have).

Leaders have to remind each team member how a particular job is relevant and makes a difference to someone else, whether that person is a customer, co-worker, boss, vendor, etc. This gives meaning to the job.  Second, the leader has to help the team member learn how to measure the impact on the person(s) whom is being impacted (hint it isn’t a financial measure or productivity measure).  Finally, the leader can’t let his team member live in anonymity with him; he must interact with teammates in ways that lets them know he knows and appreciates who that are.  Become a better leader by getting the book.

One other key learning point, and I misquote Pat Lencioni here, but “Sometimes we need to remind people more than we need to train them.”

Finally, anyone interested in having and Executive Briefing on these two important books?  Contact me.  I’ll put one together that you can attend online.


3 “R and Rs” to Build a Strong Company Culture

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3 R and Rs to Build a Strong Company Culture - #GetInSynk

After defining your company’s Core Values, Core Purpose, and Big Harry Audacious Goal, use the 3 “R and Rs” to effectively communicate them to everyone connected to your company.

Of the R and Rs, the first represents Repeat and Remind.  Repeat the Core Values, Core Purpose, and BHAG endlessly: in every meeting of 3 or more of your company, in emails, in newsletters, in voice mail broadcasts.  Also give them Reminders:  posters, tent cards, do-dads and ge-gaws with the Core Values, Core Purpose, and BHAG plastered all over them.  This is how you inform everyone about your company culture and set expectations for them.  But the first “R and R” isn’t enough.  You need to proceed to the second “R and R”

The second “R and R” is Reinforce and Recognize.  You Reinforce your culture when you witness someone living the company culture and tell them you appreciate it.  This will encourage them to repeat similar actions.  But  you need to go a step further and Recognize the action so that others in your company will learn about it as well.  This encourages the teammates to copy this action and live the culture themselves.  It gives them the power to do so.  The second “R and R” is  the most important one, but doesn’t work as well if you haven’t done the first “R and R.”  But the first two are not enough either.  You have to do the third “R and R”

The third “R and R” is Right the wRongs (okay, the third “R and R” is really “R and W”). You have to go further and call out actions being taken that are contrary to the culture and point out the right way to live them.  If you don’t, the team will eventually learn that you don’t really mean the first and second “R and Rs” and will stop living your company culture and it will all fade away.

One final point.  As the leader, you have to live the company culture too.  The company culture is not just for them, it’s for you too.  And if you don’t live it, it sends the message that you don’t believe in your own company culture.

Plenty of advice about defining Core Values, Core Purpose and BHAG is in my book and video Rock & Sand.  Consider reading it to get started on building your strong company culture.

© 2016 In-Synk

What Would a Cash Flow Tune-Up do for your Business?

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What Would a Cash Flow Tune-Up do for Your Business? #GetInSynk

When is the last time you had your car’s oil changed? You probably take your much-loved, relied-upon, trusty vehicle in for a tune-up on a regular basis. When is the last time your company had a tune-up? Yes, your business needs a tune-up. More specifically, it needs a cash flow tune-up. This, much like your car’s regular maintenance, should keep it running more efficiently and effectively.

Recently, I conducted a cash flow tune-up (aka cash flow analysis) for a client of mine. This client is a manufacturer’s rep firm that sells engineered building-solutions for commercial and industrial buildings to general contractors. It’s a business with a long sales cycle for most of what they sell. The company must also hold substantial inventory in their warehouse.

We pulled information from the P & Ls and Balance Sheets from the last three years. We analyzed the numbers and created a report of exactly how the cash flows in to and out of this business. From that analysis, we found opportunities for what I call “One Percent Solutions.” These One Percent Solutions would create $202,487  in additional cash by making some simple tweaks to some preexisting processes. This definitely caught the CEO’s attention.

After some brainstorming, we determined that we could do even better. From now on, we’ll perform a cash flow tune-up quarterly to make sure we are progressing on the One Percent Solutions. A few of those One Percent Solutions will be turned into Five and Six Percent Solutions therefore creating more cash to use for growth opportunities.

While I can’t guarantee the exact same outcome for your business, I’m pretty sure by doing a Cash Flow Tune-Up, we can find significantly positive cash improvement for your company.

Interested? Call me or email me or set an appointment using the information from the contact page

Let’s create some cash for your business to invest in growth!

Would You Invest $2500 to Find $20,000 or More in Your Business?

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Unlock Your $20,000 Vault for $2500 - Cash Flow for Growth

Seems as though the answer is obvious. Who wouldn’t want an 800% return on investment if you could be fairly certain it would be delivered? We all want better cash flow in our businesses.

Think of it another way. If you’re asked, “Do you want to unlock this vault that contains $20,000?”, you might have a few questions of your own. What if you were told that all you had to do was pay $2500 for the person to show you how to unlock and open the vault? After unlocking the vault, you keep whatever was in it knowing that it’s more than $2500. You have to do some work actually unlocking and opening it, but you’ve been shown how and you reap all the rewards! That’s what a Cash Flow Tune-Up is for a business.

On a regular basis, I’ve been finding ways to create that much more cash from my clients’ businesses. Usually, I find more.

For a couple of months now, during Cash Flow Tune-Ups with my clients, we’ve found opportunities to create more cash for the business in every instance. These opportunities don’t require a major overhaul of the business or its strategy. No big initiatives, no expansion into new customer markets, no building new product lines, no major revamping of internal processes are required.

I do an extensive analysis of where the cash is flowing in to and out of the business, as well as where some of it is parked. Often, unintentionally, we’ll find some of that parked money that can be reallocated. Then, I facilitate a strategic skull session with the leaders of the firm. We determine a couple of “One Percent Solutions” (one percent tweaks to existing processes)” that free up the cash. “One Percent Solutions” are one percent tweaks made to existing processes. When cash is freed up, it can be invested in real growth opportunities like the ones described above.

The Cash Flow Tune-Up deliverable is a “who, what, when” of practical items to implement that create more cash, $20,000 or more.

It’s a big return for a small investment. Unlock the vault and keep the contents.

Interested? Call, or email, or set an appointment using the information from the contact page.

Let’s create some cash for your business to invest in growth.



Is There Cash Hiding In Your Business?

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Is There Cash Hiding In Your Business? If You Could Find More Cash, What Would You User It For?

What would you do with more cash if you found it within your business? For most business owners that’s a pretty easy question to answer.  Most owners would say that they would reinvest this newly found cash in a way to create substantially more growth.

Lack of cash is one of the biggest and most common constraints to business growth. Cash is the fuel for growth, but growth sucks up cash. Run out of cash, and your business stalls. If this happens, it really doesn’t matter how good your strategy is.

I recently conducted a Cash Flow Tune-Up for one of my clients who is a design and research firm. We pulled information from their P & Ls, as well as numbers from their balance sheets from the last three years. We analyzed the numbers, creating a report of exactly how the cash flows in and out of his business. Then, we found opportunities from what I call “One Percent Solutions” to create $36,040 in cash by making some simple tweaks to some of the company’s procedures. After some more brainstorming, we turned one of the “One Percent Solutions” into a ten percent solution to create $106,369 in cash in the coming year.

So, in this case, what would you do with an additional $36,040? This client is using that found money to pay the salary of an intern who will be working hard adding new prospects into the research project funnel that will result in even more growth.

I can’t guarantee the exact same outcome for you, but I’m pretty sure by doing a Cash Flow Tune-Up we can find significantly positive cash improvement for your company.

Interested? Call me or email or set an appointment using the information from the contact page.

Let’s create some cash for your business to invest in growth.

What’s the Toughest Growth Obstacle to Overcome? Cash!

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Toughest Business Growth Obstacle - Cash - #GetInSynk - Michael Synk

What would you name as the toughest growth obstacle for your company to overcome? There are lots of obstacles to growth to overcome. Perhaps the most difficult one to work around is CASH, or more specifically lack of cash.

Lots of reasons for this, but it all comes down to this. Growth requires the outlay of cash. Without much cash, your options for creating growth become limited. If you run out of cash, hard times follow. There you have it, a growth obstacle. Verne Harnish, author of Mastering the Rockefeller Habits and Scaling Up, refers to it as the universal rule of growth. “Growth sucks cash”!

Cash flow is difficult to understand, track, and predict. It’s much more difficult than doing the same for revenue and profits. Growth comes from building revenue that after expenses becomes profit, but profits don’t necessarily turn into cash that drops into your bank account.

How many times have your P & L and balance sheet looked pretty good while your bank balance is low, and you are eating up your line of credit? How about the converse, when your statements look bad but the bank account is full?

To grow, you have to get a handle on your cash and how it flows through your company.  A cash flow analysis should be done on a regular basis in every company.  Do you know how to do one?

I’ve added a new weapon to my arsenal:  The Cash Flow Tune-Up.  It’s a short term coaching engagement where we pull your numbers and do an in depth analysis. We then have a hands-on brainstorming session to determine specific actions you can take to “push the right cash flow levers” to improve your business.  We’ll come up with practical “Power of One” tactics or “One Percent Solutions”  that increase your cash.

Gazelles Coaches, and I, have found that in just about every business, we instantly find easy ways to deliver 25% more cash from a business.

To learn more about the Cash Flow Tune-Up, and two other Business Tune-Ups I offer, go to

Better yet, reach out to me via my contact page, and let’s set something up to get your cash flowing stronger therefore unleashing your growth.

Volleyball Player Describes How Teamwork Works

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Teamwork Lessons from a Winning Volleyball Player - How Teamwork Works - #GetInSynk

The USA Women’s Volleyball Team won their match on Sunday against China, 3 games to 1, and in the post game interview a player described how teamwork works. It caught my attention because I played intramural volleyball (campus champs), coached high school volleyball, and later played at the AB level for a volleyball club for a couple of years. I agreed wholeheartedly with her answer to the question as to why the USA team plays so well together. She said something like this:

It starts with the talent. We are all talented players, and we play both defensive and offensive systems that we all know well and are committed to following.  And finally, because of that we trust each other to be where we are supposed to be and to do what we are supposed to do so we don’t have doubts about each other and have great confidence. Even when something goes wrong, we know how each of us are supposed to adjust, and we know what the others will do and we can pull off incredible recoveries. We really trust each other and our systems.

Wow! Great players, great systems (read processes) and great trust in each other and the systems (created by leadership). No wonder they are undefeated in pool play and headed towards a medal.

I just finished a series of broadcasts on my monthly #GetInSynk Coffee Break, that addressed each of the three things she said. Here are YouTube videos:

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Pick up a copy of Rock & Sand to learn more about creating the alignment within your organization that creates the teamwork needed to grow.