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Stuff Leaders Want Feature: The Synergist Book Preview

The following excerpt is taken from The Synergist Book Preview available in the Stuff Leaders Want resource library. For the full Book Preview, sign up for an SLW subscription.

In his book The Synergist, author Les McKeown explains the three standard, default work styles that you can find in any work environment: The Visionary, the Operator, and the Processor. It’s not that one won’t ever take on the style of another; rather, one of those styles will show up more often.

Each work style plays a crucial role to the DNA of any team. However, people with differing styles often find themselves in a gridlock because they each want something different from the process. McKeown breaks them down like this:

Visionaries are “big-thinkers turned on by ideas, they’re easily bored with minutiae, and are consumed instead by the need to create and to achieve. Visionaries are often charismatic, engaging communicators, able to motivate people to bring their best to every endeavor. They inspire deep loyalty in others, and frequently a small tight team or posse will develop around them, a group of committed individuals who share the Visionary’s vision, and want to help realize it.”

“The Operator’s natural disposition is to action. In contrast to the Visionary’s oscillation between bursts of creative energy and idling, the Operator is in a constant state of steady, forward motion—or at least, that’s how they want to be. . . . The key source of endorphin release for Operators is to get something checked off their to-do list, and they find it frustrating to sit through lengthy meetings when they could be out ‘doing stuff’ that they deem important or a priority.”

“Except for the simplest of enterprises, without an effective Processor on the team to build and maintain the systems and processes needed to support their efforts, both the Visionary and the Operator will quickly become overwhelmed by the complexities of execution. Put simply, without the Processor’s efficiencies, the Operator cannot effectively implement the Visionary’s strategies in anything other than the most basic of environments.”

In order to get anything done, you need all three people. Unfortunately, as McKeown points out, left to their own devices, the three styles will reach a point where they can’t work together anymore.

Unless someone is owning the process of bringing the team together, they will naturally reach an impasse where no one gets along. We need another style that can pull these three types of people together to accomplish a common end in mind.

The Synergist “pulls the Visionary, Operator and Processor together into a coherent, highly functional, and successful team.”

If every team needs a Synergist, it would seem like the first step for your team would be finding or becoming a Synergist. There is actually a good chance that you or someone on your team already possesses the attributes of a Synergist that accompany your other work style.

McKeown and his team at PredictableSuccess.com have created a short test that you and your team can take without cost to discover your work style.

The Predictable Success Leadership Style quiz can be found HERE.

Have each member of your team take the test and come back together to discuss what you found out about yourselves.

Developed by Orange, Stuff Leaders Want is a library of digital resources to improve what you do. These resources help to develop leadership skills for yourself, your team and your volunteers. The materials in SLW aim to answer three basic questions: What can I do to continue learning as a leader? How can I be intentional about connecting with my volunteers consistently? What can we do to stay on the same page as a team? These materials can be digested in 20 easy minutes—or less. Click here to learn more about a subscription to Stuff Leaders Want.

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