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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A good addition to your bookshelf, March 24, 2012
This review is from: The Synergist: How to Lead Your Team to Predictable Success (Hardcover)
The Synergist is a rather interesting book. It is a great book for anyone who has to work in a group or team setting. McKeown discusses the different styles of people who interact within a group or team setting.

McKeown introduces the concepts of Visionaries, Operators and Processors which can all be found within most large groups or teams. Most people possess attributes from more than one of these styles. One style that I did not see introduced was the slacker. The slacker is the person who shows up, sometimes, and contributes nothing. That personality was not within the scope of this book.

Any manager tasked with leading or being a part of a team or group would benefit from reading this book. It has an easy-to-read style and is very reader-friendly. It starts out with some scenarios to introduce the problem that can be solved by using the book. Then, it moves into a discussion of the different types of group members and how they interact. Later, it discusses positive ways to improve these group encounters. The book ends by bringing the reader back to the original scenarios and discussing how the information discussed in the book improved things.

This book is a great tool and would be a good addition to the library of anyone who deals with teams or groups.
Book Review Policy
My policy on book reviews is to give you my honest opinion of the book. From time to time publishers will give me a copy of their book for free for the purpose of me reading the book and writing a review. The publishers understand when they give me the book that I am under no obligation to write a positive review.

If you will look at all my reviews, you will see that there have been occasions when I have written a negative review after having been given a book.

I often provide links to books on Amazon.com where you can purchase books and help support the continued operation of this blog. However, I strongly encourage you to check out your local library. Many libraries now offer electronic borrowing for free.

I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission's 16 CFR, Part 255
I obtained this book from Cave Hendricks Communication. This did not influence my opinion or review in anyway.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Top "Must Read" for 2012, January 5, 2012
This review is from: The Synergist: How to Lead Your Team to Predictable Success (Hardcover)
The Synergist should be at the very top of your 2012 reading list. And not just because Les McKeown has a mousetrap of a business mind or because it will help you solve business problems that have persistently prevented you from achieving success. Read The Synergist now because it will give you fresh and critical insights into your own strengths and weaknesses as a leader and because it will give you unprecedented skills to effectively lead any kind of team you find yourself on.

Are you on a committee in your community? This book will make it operate more effectively. Do you serve on the PTO at your child's school? This book will help you work together to achieve amazing results. Want to lead a team of volunteers to build a house, feed the homeless, create a park? This book will give you the insights you need to galvanize your group.

And yes, you will also gain much needed skills and insights to strengthen your business as you turn the pages.

Get it. Read it. Make notes. Write in the margins. Share it with other members of your team. Heck, buy more than one copy so you can give it to other members of your team. You will be glad and so will they.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The Synergist is essential for teams and organisations, January 5, 2012
This review is from: The Synergist: How to Lead Your Team to Predictable Success (Hardcover)
The Synergist is Les McKeown`s second book after his best-selling Predictable Success.

In that first book, Les drew upon his years of experience and multiple start-ups and maps out the familiar trajectories that start-ups follow as they mature, reach the pinnacle of Predictable Success, and the wane that can follow afterwards. It is, in itself, a very good book and provides an excellent model that organisations can measure themselves against. Doing so can lead to valuable reflection and debate in the boardroom - never a bad thing.

In this second book, The Synergist, Les takes a less organisational perspective and switches his attention to the individuals who populate these teams and companies.

Readers who are familiar with the glut of Jung based and other twin axis personality typologies such as Myers-Briggs, Insights, Social Style, are going to face an initial hurdle here.

As I read Les's observations on the Visionary, the Operator and the Processor I was unconsciously trying to pigeonhole these into pre-exisiting labels from other models. Yellows, drivers, analyticals and the like. This says something of the prevalence of twin-axis, oppositional personality typing within the consulting and training world right now. The Synergist book does not seek to establish a physical juxtaposition between the roles it observes, it only needs to recognise the inherent and crippling tensions between them.

The other challenge is this. There are essentially only three personality types, not four, not sixteen or, good grief, thirty-two.

Three. Visionary, Operator and Processor.

The Synergist it seems to me, is predominantly a role, not a type. It is a "Learned role" which powerfully enriches and transforms the "interaction between the Visionary, Operator and Processor."

Les observes that there may be natural synergists out there but they are rare. Instead, The Synergist suggests that the Synergistic skills and offerings can be learnt and developed. We can all build up our "Synergist muscle." There is an invitation here. We can each choose take up the Synergist role at varying times, to contribute to the effective management and leadership of our teams and organisations. Les suggests something of a tipping point. Once a third of an organisation are enabled and motivated to take on Synergistic roles then the impact escalates markedly.

Les McKeown provides clear practical steps to enable anyone do so. And to what end? Nothing less than "Transfroming the group by transcending personal agendas." The beauty of The Synergist is this promise that we can all build up our "Synergist muscle" by first becoming aware and then practicising and reviewing their own implementation of The Synergist Toolkit, nine skills and a commitment presented in Chapter 8 of the book.

None of these are particularly new and if this is where the book ended then it may well have been underwhelming. Where the learn is found is in chapter 10, The Secret Garden, where these tools are implemented synergistically to unlock stuck teams. The toolkit is used to ensure that a rhythm of Investigation-Interpretation-Implementation is properly adhered to - a process which is then further broken down into three sub-component parts for each stage.

The Synergist is an engaging read. Les's style is personable and in places refreshingly idiosyncratic. He has a lean writing style which ensures that he makes his point and moves on.

The book can be read as a provocation to stimulate further consideration and reflection or it could be taken as a manual by really working through the latter chapters and explicitly mapping out the synergistic tools and behaviours onto our own management teams.

There are plenty of models and resources to draw upon as well.

This is a well written, enjoyable and provocative read. I recommend it.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A whole new level of personalities in the business realm., May 30, 2012
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I love studying how peoples' minds work and have read so many books on personality types and quite a few tests and quizzes. All of those helped me in understanding others and the way they work but The Synergist is a new level of perspective. Les' writing style holds my attention while illustrating through his personal experience, and the experience of those he's worked with, the different mindsets and how they apply in the business realm. Not only does he explain the strengths and weaknesses of each team personality, but also explains how everyone can adopt a synergist mindset to help the team achieve predictable success. I'm super appreciative to have had the chance to read this book and am already working towards applying it personally.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Breakthrough Thinking, April 6, 2012
This review is from: The Synergist: How to Lead Your Team to Predictable Success (Hardcover)
Fewer than half of the nearly 600,000 businesses we start annually in America survive their fourth year. And nobody counts the ones that are simply underperforming. Furthermore, nobody recognizes that if we simply improved the hit rates of entrepreneurs to grow their businesses to average business size in the US --- roughly 20 employees --- we'd bridge the unemployment gap in 3 years.

In The Synergist Les McKeown makes an unarguably compelling case for one way to get that done --- by rewriting the rules for how we understand the differences between the contribution that each individual brings to our efforts, and by giving us solid and easy-to-follow advice for how to use each other well.

His keen observations and invention of the concept "The Synergist," as the individual who puts what's best for the organization first, I hope, becomes a universally understood principle for organizational effectiveness. It's just that powerful.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Synthesizing Success, January 5, 2012
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This review is from: The Synergist: How to Lead Your Team to Predictable Success (Hardcover)
The great leader Warren Bennis writes in his book, On Becoming a Leader, that managers create a thesis but leaders build synthesis. Les has built a clear and actionable blueprint for those aspiring to lead by synthesizing the disparate capacities of those around her to create meaningful success.

No one I know operates as a lone creator. Everyone works in teams, with groups. And anyone I know who is successful, has also figured out how to navigate the complexity of building and sustaining successful teams. Yes, you too. In this new book, The Synergist, Les expands the understanding of Predictable Success to encompass those traits and habits of Synergists, who recognize and understand the players and figure out how to galvanize everyone to meaningful and successful pursuits.

Les both identifies the signature personas in play and gives clear actionable ideas on how to bring these talents together. It's truly a new take on what it means to be a team leader. Bravo!
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Brilliant, Wise & Actionable. Read this to Become a Leader of Leaders!, February 23, 2012
This review is from: The Synergist: How to Lead Your Team to Predictable Success (Hardcover)
There's a role every single leader should play if they genuinely want to lead highly productive, effective and successful teams - the Synergist.

According to author Les McKeown, the role of the Synergist is the single component that makes the difference between an ineffective group and a highly productive one. McKeown argues that the reason all the books, workshops, conferences, assessments, quizzes and coaching designed to help teams work more effectively together usually fail miserably over the long-term is because they address the symptoms of group dysfunction rather than the root cause. The role of the synergist is designed to get straight to the heart of the dysfunction's cause.

Reading the chapters about the three natural roles on every team and how they present themselves as leaders, and in life, was one of the most eye-opening learning experiences I've had in a long time. I found myself laughing at times when I felt Les was describing me to a tee, and shaking my head knowingly when it became clear why team members and colleagues act the way they do. Beyond being a brilliant and must-read leadership book, the wisdom within this book makes it invaluable for better understanding all aspects of business and personal relationships.

A significant portion of the book is spent revealing what that high-performance environment is and how the Synergistic team operates within it. What's encouraging for all leaders is that, although some leaders are natural Synergists, the ability to play the role of Synergist can be learned. Leaders who wish to be better, to essentially become a leader of leaders, should absolutely read this book and learn how to be a Synergist!
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Surprisingly relevant to accidental entrepreneurs, February 10, 2012
This review is from: The Synergist: How to Lead Your Team to Predictable Success (Hardcover)
My clients are people who love their work, but didn't really think of it as being in business. I help them with that business part so they can keep doing what they love. I was curious about how "The Synergist" would serve this audience. I found it remarkably relevant. I feel that each of us has, to some extent, an inner Visionary, Operator, and Processor. Each of us is capable of becoming a Synergist. When solopreneur can recognize herself in these roles, she can be much more creative, intentional, and deliberate in her choices. I'm already using this in my own business to notice when I'm out of balance or when I need to call in outside support.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars It's strange and yet reassuring to recognize myself in a book, June 5, 2013
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I wanted to wallpaper my office with descriptions of the "operator" type.
Great book. Very actionable advice and strategies. Highest recommend.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Must-have Book for Business Communication and Results, January 4, 2012
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This review is from: The Synergist: How to Lead Your Team to Predictable Success (Hardcover)
Les McKeown is one of the most brilliant business minds around and he hits it out of the park again with The Synergist, the follow-up to his fantastic Predictable Success title. This is a must-have book for communicating in teams to get things done, whether your own internal team or with service providers. (As an aside, it's good for personal communication too).

Here are some of the takeaways...

According to management studies, more than two-thirds of all major business initiatives fail. This is due in large part to poor communication and execution (aka lack of leadership). Whether you are an organization of one or 1,000, you can benefit from knowing not only your natural role, but also the roles of those around you so that you can lead them to success.

I talked to Les McKeown, consultant extraordinaire and bestselling author of Predictable Success about his newest book, The Synergist, which comes out in January 2012. You can watch the full interview below for tons of great information from Les, but here are a few takeaways:

Most teams have 3 types of players. After working with hundreds of businesses, ranging from entrepreneurs through large organizations like Harvard University and American Express, Les noticed that most teams have three natural styles of their team members; Visionaries, Operators and Processors. While Visionaries and Operators can get a business off the ground without much fuss, throwing processors into the mix (which are necessary for growth) can have the unintended effect of mayhem on a team.

There is a 4th role- The Synergist. There is a critical fourth role, The Synergist, which I liken to the person holding the Cap'n Crunch Super-secret decoder ring for the Visionaries, Operators and Processors. This person helps the team communicate and stay focused, ultimately leading the team to success.

Anyone can become a Synergist. While it's rare for anyone to be a natural Synergist, it can become a learned role for anyone, regardless of your natural style of leadership.

The Synergist role is critical even for small businesses: Even if you are a team of one, Synergist skills come into play in dealing with vendors, partners, customers and more

The Synergist gets my highest recommendation.
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The Synergist: How to Lead Your Team to Predictable Success
The Synergist: How to Lead Your Team to Predictable Success by Les McKeown (Hardcover - January 3, 2012)
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