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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 http://in-synk.com/offerings/tune-up/.

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:

[youtube_sc url=”https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZXkyWmokgt8″]

 

[youtube_sc url=”https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3iBm3fdRbpg”]

 

[youtube_sc url=”https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=M41W_171htc”]

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

 

 

3 Ways to Get Ready for a Strategic Planning Process-It’s a Business Tune-Up

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3 Ways to Get Ready for a Strategic Planning Process - #GetInSynk - Strategy

You’re frustrated with the inertia and lack of growth in your business. You know in your heart that strategic planning will transform your organization, but you are hesitant to go down this path because you don’t know if you are ready to take this on. How do you get ready for a strategic planning process?

There are three things you can start digging into, prior to committing to a strategic planning effort, that will give you the confidence to proceed. Investing in the effort to do these things will help your business even if you decide not to proceed.

  • Do a detailed, extensive Cash Flow Analysis – How is cash flowing into the company?  Where and how is it flowing out of the company? How much of it is left to invest in the growth of your company? This is important because executing your strategy will cost you money, and knowing how much cash you have will impact what you can do. (I hate to say this, but your accounting staff, outside accountant, and banker probably won’t be very much help to you on this. Call me if you need some help.)
  • Do a Talent Review – Determine who the A, B, and C players are on your team. Good strategy is best created by A players, and the same thing can be said for implementation of the strategy. You need to know how your team stacks up and whom to include in the process. (Again, I hate to say this, but human resource and personnel directors struggle with this. Call me if you need some help.)
  • Do a Key Processes Review – Take a good, hard look at the processes that you use that are key to your success. What are the ones that have to go well in order to deliver value to your customers? Look at sales processes, service processes, billing processes, fulfillment processes, and production processes. Are names assigned to them? Are they well defined, and are metrics set for them? This will tell you much about where you will be starting from when you start building a strategic plan. I regularly find that people are unaware of who is responsible for each process. Many don’t know the steps in each process and don’t know the metrics for success. Call me; I can help.

When you do a thorough job with these three things, you’ll understand that embarking on a strategic planning process is something to invest in as soon as possible. Again, call me.

Here’s a low risk offer for you to consider if you are looking for help completing the items listed above. Let’s call it a Business Tune-Up.  For a set fee, I’ll work with you and a few of your lieutenants. Together, we’ll complete the Cash Flow Analysis, the Talent Review, and the Key Processes Review. When completed, you’ll have a concrete set of actions to improve your business whether you proceed with a strategic plan or not.

  • If you are happy with what we have accomplished and feel ready to proceed with a strategic plan and execution coaching, we’ll do it.
  • If you are happy with what we have accomplished, but we determine this is enough for now we won’t proceed until you give me the word.
  • If you are unhappy with what we have accomplished, I’ll refund the portion of the fee you think would be a fair refund and move on.

The Business Tune-Up is an easy and low risk way to get ready to really transform your business with a strategic planning process. Call me about it.

In the meantime, take a look at my book Rock & Sand: A Practical Insight to Business Growth and other strategy tools created for you. They will provide a good idea about what we’ll need to accomplish when we do a strategic plan.

 

 

 

“We’ve Got to Get Ready for This”

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We've got to get ready for this. - You are ready. - In-Synk

“We’ve got to get ready for this” or some other variant of this statement is often conveyed to me to delay or decline going forward with a strategic planning effort. Strategic planning that would align a team and transform the direction of the organization.

Other versions include:

  • “My people aren’t ready for this.”
  • “I’m not ready.”
  • “We have to get ready for this.”
  • “We have to fix some things first before we do this.”

Well, let me be the first to tell you something.   Most companies aren’t “ready.”  That is not a reason to not proceed. Strategic/execution planning addresses ALL the things you are not “ready” for and creates plans and measures and deadlines for dramatically improving your business. It addresses all the dysfunction and obstacles that stand in the way of growth and determines ways to deal with them.

The ones who don’t bring up this statement or it’s variants are the ones who are sick of struggling and frustrated with inertia.  They just do it.

If you “aren’t ready,” it’s really a sign that strategic planning is the right thing to do.

More on this in my next blog post.

In the meantime, learn more about strategy and the growth that comes with it by getting my book, Rock & Sand: A Practical Insight to Business Growth.  You’ll get an understanding of what a strategic plan really is and how to connect its action that delivers growth.

Adopt a Meaningful Meeting Mindset

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Adopt a Meaningful Meeting Mindset - #GetInSynk, Meeting Rhythm, meaningful meetings

We’ve all been in horrible meetings at work, so much so that I’m starting an “Adopt a Meaningful Meeting Mindset” campaign.

Okay, as a Gazelles International Coach and a Master of the Rockefeller Habits, all of you know I’ve been waging this campaign for years. Great meetings and great meeting rhythm are at the heart of the Rockefeller Habits. It drives collaboration and execution. It’s not just something Verne Harnish suggests in his two books, Mastering the Rockefeller Habit and Scaling Up. Other experts confirm the validity of Verne’s suggestions. Specifically, Pat Lencioni in Death By Meetings and Jeff Sutherland in Scrum.  

So what do I mean by “Meaningful Meeting Mindset”? A question posed on Facebook by a friend is what got me started on this. He asked the following question:

“If you implemented a ‘get up and leave if it’s meaningless to you’ rule for your work meetings, what would you do differently at your next meeting?”

Ponder that question for a moment or two.  Here’s what I would do:

  1. Have a real tight agenda focused on accomplishing or deciding real things.
  2. Get the “Company Picnic” type of items off the agenda.
  3. Make sure the people invited or required at the meeting really do need to be there.
  4.  Start on time; end on time.

Do you have a Meaningful Meeting Mindset? What you you do to adopt the Meaningful Meeting Mindset?

The last two chapters in the book Rock & Sand discuss Meeting Rhythm as well as the final segment of the video. Check it out.