Author and consultant Les McKeown has spent nearly four decades working with and observing business teams. During that time he came to understand that individuals take on one of three roles when working in teams. The conflict and compromise created by the interaction of the three roles creates unnecessary drag that prevents companies from soaring to new heights. The most successful teams, McKeown discovered, were aided by a fourth role, one he reveals in full in his book The Synergist: How to Lead Your Team to Predictable Success. The Soundview Executive Book Summary of McKeown’s excellent resource is now available.
McKeown introduces readers to the three common roles into which individuals fall: visionaries, operators and processors. He follows with a description of the attributes and actions of a synergist, walking readers through the ways in which this fourth role reduces gridlock and alleviates the temptation to compromise rather than commit.
One of McKeown’s strengths as an author is his ability to anticipate questions that executives may have when reading about the role of the synergist. He dispels beliefs that synergists are born, not made and that a synergist needs to be acquired through an elaborate talent search. The truth is that the synergist is already within the confines of a reader’s organization, but it may not be in the personage of the executive him- or herself. Most important, McKeown corrects the assumption that a person becomes a synergist by removing all traces of his or her natural role in a group setting. A visionary can still be a visionary, but he or she will do so by acting as a synergist. It’s an important distinction that will allow teams to draw on members’ strengths and deliver more consistent results.