Insights about growth and all things impacting it within your organization

A Team Building Tool That Works


The Best of We/Me Teambuilding Tool

 Who knows best about improving a Team’s performance?  The Team

The Problem with Building High Performance Teams: Have you ever put together a team, or led a team, or witnessed at team that doesn’t seem to work as well as they should?  Good talented people that just haven’t gelled. To address it, we do a team building exercise, that helps temporarily, and then the team goes right back to where they were, not working together as well as they could.

The Best of We/Me Teambuilding Tool:  We are lucky that Marcus Buckingham has done some serious research on the difference between high performing teams and lesser performing teams.  Use this tool as a team building exercise that gets your team(s) talking with you about what is working and what isn’t and what can be done to be a better team.  This helps them talk about it and identify ways to be a better team.

 What the Research Says:  After surveying countless teams on a multitude of questions a very high correlation exists between a team’s high performance and how they rate themselves on the eight statements on the tool.  If all team members rate themselves 6-7 on each statement, they are a high-performance team, if not, they aren’t.  The ratings give clues about what is missing for a less than high performance team.

Here’s how to use it: 

  • Request each member of your team to fill out the tool, individually and in private. Ask them to bring the completed tool to a discussion session with their teammates and be prepared to share their ratings.
  • Each teammate shares there ratings.
    • Everyone shares their rating for the first question, then the second, etc, until all ratings are posted.
    • Post the answers on a flipchart or whiteboard, so everyone can see each other’s ratings.
  • For each statement, ask the following two questions. Listen only. 
    • Why did you rate the statement that way?
    • What can we/I do to improve the ratings?
  • After listening to all the answers, ask for and make a list of ideas and actions that would move the ratings closer to “7”
    • Make a plan of action, assign/take responsibilities, work the plan.

The School of Rock & Sand offers a classes called Talent Development = Growth and Leadership 1, 2, 3, that use this tool and many more that will help you build your teams.

Take a Look Around the School of Rock & Sand

Or give me a call–Synk

Rock & Sand Strategic Plan: Makes All The Other Tools More Effective

Watch the Video Here

One-Page Plans and Why They Work

“If you can’t get your instructions down on one piece of paper, it’s probably too complicated for anyone to follow.”

You might be familiar with one of these three one-page plans.

  • The One Page Strategic Plan (OPSP) by Verne Harnish(Scaling Up)
  • The Vision/Traction Organizer (V/TO) by Gino Wickman and EOS
  • The Agile Growth Roadmap by Gravitas Impact.
  • They are similar in nature and derived from the same “DNA”

Simplicity is easier to follow than complexity.

  • They clarify direction and communicate it to your entire team.
  •  Used effectively, your team will
    •  Align around and commit to the plan,
    •  Think for themselves while implementing their part of the plan,
    •  deliver results faster and better than before

My one-page plan is the Rock & Sand Strategic Plan. Although it’s not on one piece of paper (but it’s easier to use and allows for larger handwriting ;-).

  • It’s a communication and alignment tool.
    • Use it to document your strategic plan.
    • Share it with everyone on your team. Don’t hide it in a drawer.
      • It will guide them and enable them to make good decisions without you.
      • Include your team in it’s creation, It’s a team building tool too.

Print out the tool and get going.

The School of Rock & Sand teaches Strategy and Execution and how to create a great Rock & Sand Strategic Plan (or OPSP , V/TO , or Agile Growth Roadmap ).   Take A Look

Or give me a call–Synk    901 488 8172

Start Important Meetings On the Right Foot

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Victories, Brags, Challenges Tool

Start You Monthly/Quarterly Meetings With An Open Mind

Start Important Meetings Right:  Resist the urge to jump right into the agenda.  The agenda is important, but having an open mind or positive mindset is more important to getting right to it.  You and your team naturally will remember the negatives.  It the way we are wired. If unaddressed, the team face the agenda with a negative point of reference, ready to defend the past rather than find solutions.  After being reminded of the good things that happened since the last meeting, and good things happened, they team will be more open to learning about, contributing to and collaborating on any difficult item that needs attention.

Victories, Brags, Challenges Tool:  When used at the beginning of an important meeting, it changes the mindset from negative and defensive neutral to positive and open.  We are all covered up in negative input for all parts of our lives. This tool forces the team to acknowledge both team and individual successes, that regularly go unnoticed or un-celebrated.  This opens up their minds to possibilities and lets people drop the negativity and defensiveness.

Here’s how to use it:

  • Hand out the Victories Brags, Challenges Tool to each person in the meeting, at the start of the meeting.
  • Give the following instructions: Working alone, do the following
    • Write down four victories the company has had since our last time together, and why this is a victory
    • Write down three people, preferably not in the room, who did something good since the last meeting, and why you are bragging about them. Include something you have done that hasn’t been noticed by anyone
    • Write down two challenges you anticipate the team needing to address in the coming month or quarter
    • This also works well with post it notes.
  • When all have completed the instructions, each person reports on what they have written down.
    • Everyone reports on all of the victories, someone writing them down on Flip Chart (if using post it notes each person goes up to the board and posts their post it note while reporting each answer)
    • Everyone reports on all of the brags
    • Everyone reports on the anticipated challenges
    • It’s important to do the victories together, then brags, then challenges.
  • Sort out the answers. Someone, later, compile a list of everything.
  • Pump out all of the answers to the entire company, giving positive reinforcement and shout outs for all brags. The rest of the company will know that you have noticed and are noticing good work
  • The positive vibes changes the mindset to openness and collaboration

The School of Rock & Sand offers a classes in Strategy and Execution, Leadership, Talent Development, Cash Flow and Customer Dynamics.

Download the Tool Here

Take a Look around the School of Rock & Sand

Or give me a call–Synk

Multiplier Mindset Tally Sheet

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 Multiplier Mindset Tally Sheet

Are You Aware of When You are “Multiplying” or “Diminishing?”

The Hard Parts About Becoming an Multiplier:  Usually it’s not a problem of intent, it’s problem of awareness. Your time as a leader is jammed up, one thing after another.  You are moving too fast to notice what is “multiplying” or “diminishing” the people you are working with on an opportunities and problems.  Your rank makes it hard too.  It’s hard for your team to speak up about your “multiplying” or “diminishing” interactions.

The Multiplier Mindset Tally Sheet:  This is a tool that will bring to your attention your “multiplying” and “diminishing” actions.  You will become aware of your tendencies, be able to make amends/improvements to your  “diminishing” moves, and multiply your own “multiplying” moves.  It’s a tally sheet, that will help you become a multiplier.

Here’s how to use it:

  • Print out a copy of the Multiplier Mindset Tally Sheet. Put it on your desk or in the portfolio you carry with you. Place it prominently so you can’t ignore it.
  • Pull it out at regular intervals during the day and tally up your Multiplier and Diminsher Moves.
    • Mid-Morning, Mid-Day, Mid-Afternoon, End of the Day (rhythm that fits)
    • Additionally, do it after a team meeting or important one-on-one.
    • Reflect on the conversations you had during the time period or meeting
    • Put tick marks in the box that reflects each “multiplying” or “diminishing” move you’ve made
  • At the end of the day, review the Tally Sheet and ask yourself the following questions
    • Are their any Multiplier Boxes that are empty or have very fewer tick marks?
    • Which Moves, Multiplier or Diminisher, are most prevalent?
    • Are there any events or particular persons tied to a Move that is a pattern?
  • Do something about it, commit to changing your behavior
    • With Multiplier Moves, think through how to do more with everyone
    • With Diminisher Moves, think through alternatives moves that wouldn’t diminish
    • Mend relationships with those who have been diminished.
  • Repeat this for a week until you have a handle on it. Come back a month later and test yourself
  • Use it as a Teambuilding Exercise at a Team Meeting
    • Hand it out to everyone at the beginning of the meeting, explain it’s purpose.
    • Everyone keep score
      • On each other, or
      • Everyone scores you
    • Debrief in a judgment free way, commit to improvements

The School of Rock & Sand offers a class called Leadership 1, 2, 3.  It teaches the “Multiplier Effect” and other proven ways to be a Better Leader .

Take a Look around the School of Rock & Sand

Or give me a call–Synk

The Talent Inventory Tool

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The Talent Inventory Tool

Click Here to Download the Tool

The Gateway Tool to Understanding How To Improve Your Team

The Problem Most Firms Have Growing Team:  Every Owner, CEO, Team Leader I know, wants a team full of “A Players.” Who wouldn’t want team of “A Players?” Life would be so much easier, right?  But’s it’s not like there’s a store you can go to and pick “A Players” off a shelf and hire them.  Do we even know what an “A Player” is supposed to accomplish for us?  If not how would we know if we have and “A Players” on your team.

The Talent Inventory Tool:  This tool is a two-for-one tool.  It will help you understand what “A, B, and C Players” are so you can start defining what that looks like in your company.  It will also help you sort out how many “A Players” you currently have and how much work is ahead of you to get to 80% “A Players” on your team, which is a goal you should set for yourself if you want to have a great team that will unleash growth.

Here’s how to use it:

  • Print out the Tool and review the scales of the two axises on the tool and learn what the definitions of “A, B, B/C, and C Players are:
    • A Players = team members who are Very Productive and live the Core Values of you organization
    • B Players = team members who live your Core Values and most likely can become Very Productive with education, training, and coaching
    • C Players = team members who don’t live your Core Values and aren’t ever going to be Productive
    • A/C Players = team members who are Very Productive but roll over everyone in the process because they don’t/won’t live the Core Values of your company. Often dangerous to the company because they demoralize everyone else. We’ll need to talk about these players.
    • A, B, C, A/C designations apply only to the position each person currently has.
  • Pencil in the initials of each one of your direct reports in the square that applies to them in their current position. If your company is smaller do the same with all employees
    • Do the math to calculate the % of “A Players currently on your team.
    • Create a plan for each of the A, B, and B/C that will get them to “A” of help them remain an “A.”
    • Get the C Players into positions that they can become an “A” or get them out of the company
  • Recognize that there is a lot to do to accomplish 80% “A Players” this tool covers, commit to getting as many of your team to “A” as possible, and invest in learning how to do the rest.   

 The School of Rock & Sand offers a class called Talent Development = Growth that teaches                            all one needs to know to achieve 80% “A Players”

The School of Rock and Sand has a catalogue of classes designed to help business owners unleash growth from their organizations.

Take a Look around the School of Rock & Sand 

The Brand Promise Tool

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The Brand Promise Tool

Align Your Sales/Marketing Efforts Around Why Customers Are Really Buying

The Problem Most Firms Have Building Sales:  As owners and leaders of our companies, we naturally want to talk about why our product or service is great.  We are good at what we do, we have created a product or service that is better than the competition.  We want to tell people why, right?  However, it’s not why your customer is buying.  They are buying because of problems you product/service is solving, and usually it’s something deeper than the obvious need your product/service addresses.

The Brand Promise Tool:  When you work through this in tandem with the Deeper Dive Tool will help you define a “Brand Promise” that addresses the real reasons they want to buy, so that it catches their attention when they hear it and will want to learn more. It gets you out of  “Features and Benefits” or “Show Up and Throw Up” and will drive sales.

Here’s how to use it:

  • Review what you learned about your Core Customers when you used the Deeper Dive Tool. (if you haven’t completed a “Deeper Dive” go back to the Deeper Dive Lesson  and get it done.    
  • Write down the Following on a Flip Chart: My Company Promises You __________________.
    • Fill in the blank with a complete sentence, while resisting the urge to wrie a slogan.
    • Don’t use any statement that says how “good, better, best” you are, or any statement that talks about your company.
    • Fill in the blank with a statement that addresses their deeper needs and how they will do better. The Brand Promise should talk about them.
    • This is your Lead Promise. Write this in the Lead Promise Box
  • “The Lead Promise stands on the shoulders of the Secondary Promises.” These are promises you make that come with the Lead Promise, that prove you can deliver on it, or gives confidence that you can while providing additional value.
    • Feel free to have more than two secondary promises. Put them in the boxes on the tool, draw in additional boxes if needed
  • Give the completed tool to your marketing/sales team. Make your marketing and sales processes reflect these promises.
  • Wordsmith the Brand Promise: Get expert help if you don’t have it, to turn it into effective marketing materials.

The School of Rock & Sand offers a class called The Buy and Stay Cycle

It will give you deeper insights into why your customers buy, and what you should do about it.

Take a Look around the School of Rock & Sand

Or give me a call–Synk  

The Love and Loath Tool

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The Love and Loath Tool

Identify What Your People Love To Do.  Make Sure They Get To Do It.

 The Problem Everyone Has At Work: Employees don’t spend enough time doing what they love to do.  They end up spending time on things that they are either ambivalent about or absolutely hate doing.  Studies repeatedly show that employees, who spend at least 20% of their time doing something they love, are more engaged at work and produce more. If they get to spend 20% of their time on what they love to do, they can get through all the rest more easily.  It behooves you figure what each person loves to do then make sure they get to do it 20% of their time doing it.

The Love and Loath Tool:  This tool can help you figure out what people love to do and on spending at least 20% of their time doing it.  It also helps you figure what they hate to do, that someone else just might love doing.  From there, you have an opportunity to realign the work loads and the work flows so that everyone is more engaged, productive, and content at work.   

 Here’s how to use it: 

  • Request each member of your team to fill out the tool. Give them some time to work on it.
  • Have them review or present their completed tool
    • These can be individual meetings but I recommend doing this as a team
    • Each member presenting their tool to the group
    • Listen intently to what is presented.
  • Facilitate a discussion that identifies and charts out what each person loves and loathes doing.
    • As a team, think through how to shift work around so that everyone ends up working on things they love to do at least 20% of the time.
      • Check in regularly to insure everyone is getting 20%
    • Pay close attention to things that people loath doing. Chances are, someone else on the team loves to do some of these things. Reallocate appropriately if possible
    • If there are things that everyone loathes doing,,,,
      • Make sure everyone gets their fair share of it.
      • Find ways to automate it or make it less painful.
      • Add someone to the team who loves this stuff.
    • Rinse and Repeat every ninety days.

The School of Rock & Sand offers a class called “Talent Development = Growth” with many more tools that help you get the most out of your team.

Take a Look

Or give me a call–Synk

Leadership Effectiveness PunchList

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“Personal Best” Leadership Punch List

Do the “Five Things” the Best Leaders Do and Succeed

The Leadership Problem/Opportunity:  Although the research is clear about what the Best Leaders do to succeed, leadership success is usually, falsely attributed to personality, education, upbringing, charisma, and intelligence.  The same research, duplicated repeatedly, has identified the Five Things the Best Leaders Do, while also finding absolutely no correlation between the attributes just listed and success. Maybe you should find a way to chart out how you will do the Five Things before you start your next project or initiative, and then make sure you do them along the way, turning them into habits when you do.

“Personal Best” Leadership Punch List: This tool turns the Five Things into a Punch List, just like builders do to plan out their work and to hold themselves accountable for to getting them done.  You’ll use this tool to do the same to plan out how you will lead yourself through the challenge of leading your team to a successful conclusion.  Checklists and Punch Lists Work.  Use this one to increase your chances for success and to help people follow your lead.

Here’s how to use it:  

  • Familiarize yourself with the “Five Things” in the first column: If necessary, pick up a copy of The Leadership Challenge, by Jim Kouzes and Barry Posner to gain a deeper understanding of each “Thing”
      1. Challenge the Process,
      2. Inspire a Shared Vision,
      3. Enable Others To Act,
      4. Model the Way, and
      5. Encourage the Heart.
  • Review all of the prompts in the Second Column:
    • Use the prompts to think through some actions specific to each Thing
    • Decide which ones would best accomplish each Thing
  • Turn the actions into a Punch List by listing them in the Third Column
    • Use the Punch List to make sure you each of the Things effectively, checking off actions as they are completed and/repeated
    • If better actions develop along the way, add them to the Punch List
  • Debrief after completion of the project or initiative to evaluate how well you and your team did
  • Until this becomes a habit, integrate the Punch List into the process of planning and completing every project and initiative your team takes on

The School of Rock & Sand offers classes that will help you unleash the growth in your organization. One of the classes, “Leadership 1, 2, 3,” will help you succeed as a leader.  Take a Look

 Or give me a call — Synk

The Context Creates Curiosity Tool

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Don’t Just Share the Data, Share The Context, Generate Curiosity

The Context Problem/Opportunity:  We all know we should share the numbers the team, the numbers that tell us how we are doing, both collectively and individually.  We post them, look at them briefly, then move on back to the Sand they were pushing.  Most often, it’s because we are posting the numbers without any context, such as over time or in relation to other numbers that aren’t financial.  The team looks at them, but derives no meaning from them, no curiosity, no insight occurs and people go back to what they were doing.

The Context Creates Curiosity Tool:  This tools suggests a way to “do the numbers” with context, that will spark curiosity, then analysis, creating meaning and empowerment to everyone on the team.  Get the Tool Here

Here’s how to use it:

  • First identify some Outcome numbers, often financial ones, but could also be production numbers
    • They should be numbers that tell the team how well they did that day or week or month, depending on the rhythm of your business, and easily pulled and posted.
    • Post them next to each other as the tool indicates, each day, each week, or each month, again depending on the rhythm of your business.
    • My recommendation is do weekly or daily, not monthly. Business moves faster than months at a time.
  • Next identify Activity numbers, which or counts of the actions taken that deliver the outcomes.  
    • These are actions that when done or initiated add up to the outcomes, when not done the desired outcomes don’t come
    • They might be counts of items in the queue or a process that delivers the outcome. They might include measurements of quality, quantities of speed.
    • You might not be tracking these things, so get to work and figure it out.
    • Post them same way you posted the outcomes numbers, according to the rhythm of your business
  • Do the same with Market Numbers, with data that helps them understand the world
  • At your meeting post all the numbers at the same time in a format demonstrated in the tool
    • Better yet have the team member responsible for each specific number post the number
    • When posted and shared, teammates will start wondering why they turned out this way
    • Ask the questions, “What’s are the trends or spikes?” “How are we doing?”
  • Curiosity kicks in, meaning conveyed, empowerment starts.

Download the Tool Here

Visit the School of Rock & Sand 

See you in a week with the next Lesson from the School of Rock & Sand

One Page Plans and Why They Work–Baseline Growth Roadmap

Watch the Video here.

This week’s lesson from the School of Rock & Sand

If you’ve been following things on LinkedIn, all these organizations out there are pushing a “Scale Up”  message and when they do they are usually also suggesting you use some sort of One Page Plan.

The One Page Strategic Plan or OSPS (Scaling Up), The Vision Traction Organizer or V/TO (EOS)  Beto vision, traction, organizer, and The 7 Attributes of Agile Growth Roadmap (Gravitas Impact) Are one page plans, that work from the same solid DNA.

In some ways, it’s a matter of preference. All of them work fairly well, with nuances in each of them. If you are using one, you are on the right track.

They work because they are on one piece of paper or maybe even two, (that’s a bit of an inside joke about the one page plans,  that they  take two pieces of paper to print it out.

They all  capture the foundation of the future of where you want to go in an easily digestible manner for everyone on your team, and then brings back that from the future to today to align them on what to do right now to achieve the goals set out in the plan.

So let’s take a look at my version of it.  I call my one page plan the Baseline Growth Roadmap.

It’s a little simpler to use than others. And the space for handwriting is larger.  YEt it accomplishes pretty much the same thing.

Foundation of your three years goals is core purpose, core values, core customers, brand promise and core strengths.  The Roadmap is a place to document and share so that people know what they are.

From there you move to you want to be 10 years from now and what’s the profit per X (read Jim Collins to learn about that concept.

Using all of that, and especially your core customer and brand promising, you can calculate out a three year target, a three year, highly achievably goal.  (thanks Shannon Susko for the 3HAG).

Once that is set, then you work on key thrusts for the next three years.  Things are going to have to be different three years from now than now to hit the 3HAG.  What are they and what are the actions needed to build those things.

Then you bring this back to one year and the main things you are going  work on that year.

Then you take on the next 90 days. That’s what you’re going to work on right now to move things forward.  What are the main projects or priorities (Rocks) and what is the business you need to transact (Sand).

Then, finally, what does is each individual going to do as a part of the plan.  What are their personal Rocks and Sand.

It’s not easy to just pump this out off the top of your head. To complete it, your team should be involved.  If your team works with you on this, they’re going to be more committed to it.

In fact, creating baseline growth roadmap together is a fabulous team building process.

Here’s a link to the Baseline Growth Roadmap.  Download it and use it.  Your team will find it easy to follow and that’s what you want.  Good luck,

See you for next week for another lesson.

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Rock & Sand by Michael Synk is model, a book and a school that serve as “The Bridge Between Strategy and Action” enabling you to uncover opportunities and the means for acting on them, while creating the team alignment necessary for unleashing growth.