In-Synk Blog

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

Good Strategy & Teams – How to Find What’s Missing

Strategy - Looking for Clues - Blog Post Image for finding what's missing even when you have good strategy and good teams in your business.

You know that you have a good strategy. You also have confidence that your team knows what to do. However, you know there’s something missing. What is it?

Sound familiar?

I truly wish this not to be the case for you, but you’ve probably asked yourself this question many times over the years of running your business. You will probably ask yourself again many times in the future.

Let me venture a guess at the answer.

My educated guess and experience leads me to point to connections and commitment.

Let’s look at connections.

Strategy can be unconnected to execution in many ways. Maybe it’s been developed from the top and handed down, so the frontline and middle managers are at least initially skeptical of the changes the strategy requires. After creating the strategic plan, is it talked about regularly, and measured for progress, making sure everyone is contributing instead off everyone going back to what they were doing? After all, the day to day activities that generate cash are flying at them constantly (the SAND) and that comes first, right? Is the strategy even communicated to the frontline, or is it kept in a drawer for just a select few? (Ask me about the mushroom school of management sometime). Is the strategy connected to the higher needs of the core customer? This means that your strategy is connected to what the customers need to buy, instead of you want to sell them,

Answer these questions, and you will start finding what is missing due to a lack of connection.

Take a look at commitment.

So often, teams aren’t truly committed to the strategy or even the company. They’re just putting time in to collect the income they need. Have you effectively communicated the impact your service/product makes to it’s customers and the world? Did you ask them to be involved in the creation of the plan? Have you asked your people how to accomplish the new initiatives of the plan and included them in assessing progress? Do you help them understand how they individually contribute to the overall success of the plan? Have you acknowledged their input and acted on it when possible?

Address these questions. You’ll start finding what is missing because of lack of commitment.

Increased connection and commitment unleashes growth.

Rock & Sand™, Gravitas Impact’s book that our coaches and I have co-authored, will help you connect your strategy to execution and eliminate what is missing?  Click here to order it.

After you understand how to make the connection between ROCKS and SAND, and you want to go further, connect with me at

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What My Customers Didn’t Know

What My Customers Didn't Know by Michael Synk - #GetInSynk

Did you know that I also do _____? I’m not really asking you this actual question right now. This is a tale of a personal case study that comes from this question.

Alex Goldfayn, in his book, Selling Boldy (which I reviewed in my last blog post) says there are three key questions you need to ask your “friendlies” on a regular basis.

These three questions are key.

  • The first questions is “What are you working on that I could help you with?  Pretty obvious. Flushes out business opportunities.
  • The second question is “Who do you know, like yourself, who would benefit from working with me the way you do?” Another damn good question that flushes out referrals for you.
  • The third question, “Did you know that I also do ___?” This might be the best question for your friendlies.

I tested the questions out myself.

I’ve spent the past two weeks calling friendlies to ask the three questions. It’s added to my funnel, and it’s built my confidence. Get Selling Boldly, or read my last blog to understand why this works. Really, it’s the responses to the third question that have caught my attention.

I have been missing opportunities for new business.

My friendlies all knew about the core strategy/execution coaching work that I do, using the Rock & Sand™ model, the Baseline Growth Roadmap, and Gravitas’ Four Decisions™ model. None of them knew that I do one day, in- and-out, coaching engagements called Tune-Ups. I thought they knew; it’s on my website after all. Not one of the 25 friendlies I called knew about them. I hadn’t told them, because I forgot to.

Several are now considering additional engagements with me, but almost more importantly they now know what they can refer people to me for. All of them have had their thoughts triggered to think about other ways I could be of assistance to them.

Do your customers know?

Your customers, even your best ones, are too busy to read your site to find out what else you do. You have to break through and let them know. Calling them and telling them is how. It’s easy, and your friendlies will appreciate the call and appreciate learning about your other offerings.

As I said in my last blog, get the book. Read it, and do it.

As for what else I do? Here’s a link to all of my offerings and to my Tune-Ups.

Now that you know about the other things I do:

  • What are you working on that I might be able to help you with?
  • Who do you know, like yourself, that would benefit from working with me?

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A Bold Book Review: “Selling Boldly” by Alex Goldfayn

A Bold Book Review by Michael Synk - #GetInSynk

Not being a “sales guru” I was initially hesitant to write a review of Selling Boldlyby Alex Goldfayn. In the end, I came to realize that the book is wise about sales and so many other things that I really needed to do a book review.

Here’s the short version.

Pick up the book. Download the forms, and do what Alex says. Just do it. That is if you want to improve your results.

Here’s the longer version.

Alex brings so much common sense to selling that you can’t ignore this book. You’ll sell more effectively. You’ll build your confidence, and you’ll get referrals. You will be able to get more business from existing customers. How?

By picking up the phone and calling them.

  • Fewer people today are using the phone. You’ll stand out from your competitors. Digital communication is great for confirming things and sending information. It’s not ideal for building relationships.
  • Most people hesitate calling their customers because they are afraid of bothering them, or they think the customers don’t want to hear from them. They may even think they will make them mad. Alex says this is nonsense. Head-trash you talk yourself into.
  • Your customers, with whom you are succeeding, are friendly. His word for them is “friendlies.” They want to hear from you and want to tell others about you and most likely would do more business with you if they knew how. So call them. Just do it.
  • Alex applies the science of positive psychology to sales. The researched and tested findings, of Martin Seligman, PhD, the father of modern positive psychology.

There’s more to “Selling Boldly” than just this. More for another blog.

How To Win the Day & Your Daily Huddle

Win the Day & Your Daily Meeting by Michael Synk - #GetInSynk

The daily huddle is an event that we talk about when following the Four Decisions Model™. It’s something we should all be doing.

My normal advice for the daily stand-up huddle is for everyone to briefly report the “main thing” that they need to accomplish that day, no matter what happens.

After sharing their main things, then share any intel or information that’s useful to others that has came up since yesterday’s huddle. Follow that step with bringing up any “stucks” that one is dealing with. Pretty simple right?

I’m re-thinking that advice.

The positive psychology research that I’ve been reading recently says something that stuck out to me. It points out what confident people do at the beginning of each day. They decide how they will successfully negotiate the day. This is done by mentally drawing a picture for themselves about what success looks like for everything on their plate that day, large and small items, easy and difficult items. When they do that, they perform better that day. Each success of the day brings confidence to the next task of the day and continues building confidence through the day.

Let’s win your daily huddle by making it more meaningful and positive.

The intent of the daily huddle becomes how the team “will win the day.” It’s not just reporting on what’s going to happen or what has got to get done. A winning daily huddle has that along with the team telling each other what succeeding looks like that day.

Why not bring this to the daily huddle? Seems to me we should make “winning the day” the theme of the huddle each day. Have each person report in on the main thing they need to get done that day. Then they tell their team what winning (or success) looks like in getting it done. It builds confidence for the individual and the team. It also engages the team to help with stucks when winning appears to be really difficult.

What do you think of introducing this to your daily huddles?

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?

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