In-Synk Blog

This blog is all about my latest insights into growth, strategy, and execution.

Serving Leadership vs. Servant Leadership

Serving Leadership vs. Servant Leadership by Michael Synk - #GetInSynk

At the Gravitas Impact Coaches Summit I attended recently, I found myself listening to Dave Ramsey. The thing is, he got a bit off track in his presentation and started musing about why many leaders have a hard time with the idea of servant leadership.

We all know it is the better way. Research backs it up.

He put it this way: The word “servant,” to so many people and to many leaders as well, means “subservience” to others. Doing the will of others. Waiting on others. Being a slave to others.

Servant leadership is leading them with their best interests at heart. It’s a very different meaning than how many people take it.

He suggested calling it “service leadership” or “serving leadership.” These two descriptions might be better names for the best way to lead.

Good point Dave Ramsey. I agree. I like “serving leadership” best.

Does this change how you look at servant leadership and enable you to become a better leader?

The Great Game of Business Author Recommends Rock & Sand™ Premium Edition

The author of The Great Game of Business, Jack Stack, wrote a nice recommendation for the new edition of Rock & Sand: A Practical Insight to Business Growth.

Here’s what he had to say about the Premium Edition of Rock & Sand:

Rock &Sand is a powerful and practical mini-book for entrepreneurs. If you want to unleash growth in your organization, this book shares a simple, practical process and set of tools to get it done. Michael Synk brings his coaching and teaching skills, along with a community of highly capable and experienced coaches from Gravitas Impact, to provide a growth roadmap that can apply not only to businesses but also non-profit organizations. The Rock & Sand framework matches up nicely as a complement to The Great Game of Business© framework and toolsets, as evidenced by the inclusion of our “Critical Number” principles in our Open Book Management philosophy that is the foundation of The Great Game of Business©.

Besides writing his own book, Stack is also the founder and serves as Chairman of the Board of SRC Holdings.

Thanks Jack.

“WE are the smartest…”

Who Is The Smartest in the Room? WE are the smartest! - ROCK & Sand by Michael Synk - #RockAndSand

“We are the smartest person in the room…”  This quote, by fellow Gravitas Coach Ted Sarvata found in the forward of the new “Premium Edition” of Rock & Sand: A Practical Insight to Business Growthcaptures the theme of the book.

Collective efforts of your team, in the creation of your strategic plan, produce a better plan.

You end up with a plan that the team will commit to. It will deliver better results than doing it by yourself then handing it down to the team.

The original concept of my Rock & Sand book, was a collaboration between me and my clients.

It captures why owners and entrepreneurs need a strategic plan, what needs to be in one, and what to do about it after its creation. It connects strategy to execution in a simple and compelling manner. The “smartest person in the room” was not me. Results came from all of the clients and me, coming together to create the Rock & Sand Model™.

The new “Premium Edition” adds more collaboration.

This time collaboration between ten of the best and brightest coaches in the Gravitas Community was added. Each of the collaborators was asked to write a chapter illustrating and explaining how a business owner or entrepreneur can create each component of the plan by tapping into their “smartest person in the room,” their leadership team, and/or their middle managers. Following these instructions with your team, you’ll create a stronger strategic plan. Therefore, it helps your “smartest person in the room” to become smarter and stronger at the same time.

This book is about engaging your “smartest person in the room.” Your real “smartest person in the room” is the collection of minds on your team. Together, WE are a smarter, more effective, and aligned team that will unleash the growth of your company.

Are you ready to tap into your team and develop “the smartest person in the room”? Get excited about unleashing the growth and potential of your company.

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10 “Multiplier Moves” to Multiply Your Team

10 Multiplier Moves from Michael Synk - #GetInSynk

This blog about “multiplier moves” is a follow-up post to an earlier one about the book Multipliers, by Liz Wiseman.

At a recent session on this book, the presenter gave us the challenge of becoming a “multiplier” by employing “multiplier moves” instead of diminishing ones.

The key insight for me and most of the audience was that no matter how hard we try, we’ll always make a mistake and make a diminisher type of move. To avoid this, make a list of “multiplier moves” and practice them. Have them ready to deploy when someone comes to you asking for you to solve something for them.

“Multiplier moves” are usually questions rather than answers. They’re questions that help people move towards a solution on their own or together with you.

Some of the “multiplier moves” I’ve assembled and you are free to steal are:

Tell me more about that…

Why do you say that?

What am I not seeing?

And what else?

What will be hard about this?

What do you see?

If you had a magic wand…

What’s the real problem…

Is this your best work?

What does great look like to you?

These turn a potentially diminishing situation into a multiplying one. They challenge the person or team to think, to think bigger, to learn, and to dialogue. This leads them to consider more than the obvious data to solve the problem. You get a better solution and a smarter person who is ready to handle bigger things in the future.

Multiply your team.

Need More Staff?

Need More Staff? by Michael Synk #GetInSynk

Have you tried “multiplying” the staff you have?

No, I’m not talking about cloning your staff. That would be a pretty good trick if you could pull it off, though.

I’m talking about the book Multipliers and the ideas and techniques outlined in it.

Multilpliers, by Liz Wiseman will transform the way you lead your team. The author has extensively studied those leaders who get better results than their peers even though they have equally talented and equally sized teams. They “multiply” the output of their teams, and it happens willingly.

The key to Multipliers is first recognizing that your staff is smart enough to figure things out. Then after acknowledging it, change the way you all go about solving problems.

For instance, present the problem to your people.

Instead of trying to provide solutions to their teams and asking for input or approval, they approach their teams with the problem. At this point, they use dialogue and ask about solving it.

This way, the problem (or opportunity) is owned by the team.

Then, they are committed to it.

Leaders then listen and make sure the dialogue is strong and all aspects of the situation are covered, maybe even asking people to dig deeper. They will then lead the team towards the solution but not providing the solution.

When you first start “multiplying” it goes slow.

As you continue doing it, the team gets smarter and smarter. That’s when the “multiplication” takes place and the “multiplier’s” team starts getting “multiplied” outcomes.

Do you think your team is smart enough to figure things out? Do you have to provide all the solutions, therefore diminishing your team?

I hope it’s the first, and you can expand your team without adding anyone.

Get the book if you haven’t already. I’m sure I’ll be writing more about it in the future.


Let’s Play a Game & Move a Rock

Let's Play a Game and Move a Rock - Michael Synk - #GetInSynk

What game should we play to move your ROCK?

This is the new question I’ll be asking my clients when we identify new rocks for the quarter. Or when we peg initiatives for the year or swim lanes for the future.

I learned this question recently while attending a learning session at The Great Game of Business (GGOB). It’s a better question than asking, “What are we going to do to move the rock?”.

That question, “What are we going to do to move the rock?” invites some baggage into the conversation.

It invites the idea that something is wrong, someone didn’t do something, that someone has to do something about it. In doing so, it assigns blame whether you intend to or not.

Why not bypass this line of questioning altogether by alternatively asking, “What’s the game we need to play to move the rock?” This question focuses the participants on what can be done to succeed, without any blame/shaming. The focus is on playing a game and winning. Then the team will figure out how to win the game to move the rock. It’s a great connection between GGOB and ROCK & SAND™.

Remember, a rock is a project, a priority, or an initiative that improves your organization’s ability to push more sand, more profitably and grow. It’s usually something complex and cross functional requiring a number of people to work together as a team to move it.

Teams play games.

The question turns the rock into a game. In GGOB parlance, every rock is a mini-game. Mini-games engage the team in winning.

Isn’t that what you want?

What’s the game you need to play to move your most important rock this quarter?

Entrepreneurial Units or Business Units?

Entrepreneurial or Business Units? by Michael Synk - #GetInSynk

Do you have entrepreneurial units or business units?

How do you see your employees?

Recently, I witnessed a “Great Game of Business” (GGOB) weekly, all-company huddle at SRC Electrical. It was an enlightening experience seeing an entire plant full of employees who were fully engaged. They were all invested in improving the financial performance of their organization. This ties directly to creating growth.

Later in the day, there was a presentation for the guests. The speaker said something during that time. It has stuck in my mind ever since. It is part of their company culture of ownership.

“We don’t have business units. We have entrepreneurial units.”

Do you think of your organization’s people as having entrepreneurial mindsets?

It was clear that all units of their business have an entrepreneurial spirit to them. They all know how their work impacts the bottom line. Some of their units are profit centers. Some are cost centers. However, all of them understand their contributions. They affect, positively or negatively, the bottom line. They’re all working to contribute to improving the bottom line, even if it’s indirectly.

It’s SRC Electrical’s expectation that their people understand the impact that they have on the success and bottom line of the business. The leadership is actively involved in teaching each and every department and employee HOW they make money for the company. This results in an extremely high level of engagement. They expect them to learn it, and they anticipate that they are smart enough to figure it out and act accordingly.

This is another argument for getting the right people in the right positions.

Shouldn’t all of your business units, whether they are profit centers or cost centers, be entrepreneurial units?

A Survey: Is Your Business Ready for Growth?

How ready for growth is your business? Take this survey. #GetInSynk

Maybe the opportunity for growth is obvious but you just can’t get moving on it.

Perhaps the growth opportunity isn’t obvious. You just know you are slogging it out harder than ever before for the exact same results or maybe even worse results.

Maybe you are growing like wildfire, and you’re worried about the ability to handle it and keep up with it.

The real question is whether you are ready for growth.

Each of the scenarios described above are all good examples of why you should question your status. Are you ready to tackle the obvious opportunity? What about finding that opportunity that will get you out of your rut? Is your business ready to keep your growth going strong and make it sustainable?

It’s not something a self help book will help you figure out. You have to figure out if you’re ready. You may need to figure out what’s keeping you from figuring it out. It may take figuring out what wheels are going to come off before they actually do fall off and cause havoc.

You need an assessment that can help you figure out all of this. A common sense, simple assessment will give you a starting point for getting ready for growth, regardless of your scenario.

Try this one. It’s the Four Decisions Assessment from my coaching organization Gravitas Impact Premium Coaches. Invest 15 minutes and gain valuable insight. It’s practical, effective, and easy to complete. It includes a free coaching session from me. When I get your report, I’ll arrange a phone call and review what it’s telling you about your readiness for growth.

Four Decisions Mini Assessment - Michael Synk - #GetInSynk - Gravitas Impact

Two Books for 2019

Two Books for 2019 suggested by Michael Synk - In-Synk Coaching - #GetInSynkThere are two books I want you to consider for the the year, but they aren’t new ones. You may have heard of them or even read them. Maybe, you should read them again.

One is a real golden oldie from 1993.

The first is The Great Game of Business by Jack Stack.

When I first picked up The Great Game of Business (GGOB) back in 1993, I was living in Boston. The morning’s Boston Globe reviewed the book.  Between meetings that day, I found a bookstore and purchased the book. I find myself regularly coming back to it every couple of years. This past November, at a Gravitas Impact summit, I had the opportunity hear Jack Stack, the author, along with Rich Armstrong, president of The Great Game of Business, refresh the content for me. Immediately I was re-energized by their presentation and empowerment the GGOB unleashes in the frontline and middle management of companies practicing GGOB. I have just spent an afternoon with Rich brushing up on the GGOB so I can use its principles with my clients.

The other book is a golden, not so oldie, one from 2010.

The second book I recommend for the year is Multipliers by Liz Wiseman.

Multipliers is another book that never gets dusty on my bookshelf. It’s a leadership book that details how the very best leaders “multiply” the contributions of the teams. The resulting effect gets twice as much engagement and twice as many results. It’s leadership 201. As you can see with this short description, a “multiplier” empowers his or her team.

There’s a strong connection between these books.

Although it may appear that the books are totally unrelated to each other, they work well together.

The deeper connection between the books is that they both ascribe to a core belief that leaders should have about their people. “My teammates are smart enough to figure this out.” The Great Game of Business and Multipliers both acknowledge the power of teams and their abilities to solve any problem or  tackle any opportunity in front of them. That’s the main connection.

I’m going to be doing some more blogs about both books in the near future so stay tuned.

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Here’s My Best Wei Chen Story. What’s Yours?

Best Wei Chen Story - Michael Synk - #GetInSynk

The passing of Wei Chen, founder of Sunshine Enterprise, and three of his top leaders (John Chen, Bruce Pelynio, and Danielle Robinson) is a tragedy shocking so many people, both here in Memphis and around the world. There is not much to say about it that is comforting, except to share good stories about them. So many stories were told over and over again at the wakes, services, and receptions.

I’m a better person for having listened to all the stories about this influential man.

One particular interchange I had with Wei, some time ago, came when he was a member of a peer group I was leading. When another member asked for advice from the group about his upcoming vacation, we all listened. This guy was worried about leaving his business alone for two weeks and was thinking about canceling at least part of his trip because of recent challenging developments. Almost to a tee, the rest of the members advised him to shorten or cancel his vacation. Most cited the risk of being away from things. Not Wei. He looked at the situation differently.

“Pack and go. All two weeks of it. Go, no matter what.”

Everyone was puzzled by his advice and looked at Wei with quizzical faces.

“You win no matter what happens. If things go wrong, you will know what you have to fix. Then your business will get better and grow. If things go well, you will know you have a good team and can take more vacations.”

“Pack and Go. All two weeks of it. Go, no matter what.”

I can proudly tell you that every member of that peer group and their leader enjoyed full, two week vacations that year.

Hopefully, this little bit of Wei Chen helps you with any grief you may have and inspires you to think as positively about the future as Wei did. He is missed.

What’s your story?  Post it please.

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