Business Workshop Will Stress Strategy Alignment

By Andy Meek

Talk to author, business coach and strategy expert Michael Synk long enough, and not only will a few images and themes make an appearance, but they’ll do so repeatedly.

Synk will talk a lot, for example, about the importance of a single piece of paper, and the word “alignment” will come up frequently. That’s because they are among the key ingredients in his recipe for business growth, which he shares with executives from companies of all sizes, something he’s also doing this week at a workshop sponsored in part by The Daily News.

Synk stresses alignment, because the core of his general message involves four distinct decision points companies have to get right if they want to grow to the next level. They revolve around cash, execution, strategy and people. And Synk stresses they all have to operate in alignment with each other.

“An organization’s people, strategy, execution and cash need to be aligned and coordinated as much as possible to produce sustainable growth,” Synk said. “(You) can’t do just strategy, can’t do just people, can’t do just execution, can’t do just cash.

“Addressing each one individually will deliver a positive bump in performance, but results will not build. In collaboration with the other decisions, the outcome is continuous and often exponential. You have to be working on all four to generate continued sustainable growth and success.”

That’s where the piece of paper comes in. At the In-Synk Plan Forward Workshop, to be held Thursday, Oct. 18, at the University of Memphis, Synk will guide his audience toward developing a strategic plan – that fits on a single page.

It’s born out of the unsurprising notion that the more complex a strategy is, the easier it gets to stick it on the back burner.

Synk’s workshop focuses on the Four Decisions model, a strategic planning model popularized by the book “Mastering the Rockefeller Habits” and offered through Gazelles International. The model refers to those four decision areas that leadership teams have to get right in order to grow.

Synk’s workshop is organized around those four decisions and teaches the participants how to address them better and then coordinate them into a one-page strategic plan.

“The people, strategy, execution and cash decisions are interdependent with each other, and by that I mean are mutually supporting of and dependent on each other,” Synk said. “For example, good people develop better strategies and are better at executing them. Good execution habits and processes support good people and make them more effective and valuable and allow an organization to be less dependent on having a perfect strategy.

“A well-defined strategy that is easy to understand inspires people to execute. Having good people, good strategy and good execution delivers higher profitability, which delivers more cash to be used to fuel more growth and put in place better people and processes. Good cash practices help you do more to hire better people who out-produce lesser people. It goes on and on and on.”

His workshop will begin at 8:30 a.m. in the Fogelman Executive Center at the University of Memphis and finish by 5 p.m. At the end of the day, attendees will leave in part with a baseline strategic plan and a checklist for execution.

In addition to The Daily News, other sponsors of the event and the decision points those sponsors are tied to include Adams Keegan Inc. (people sponsor), Century Wealth Management (strategy sponsor), Triumph Bank (cash sponsor) and Decosimo Certified Public Accountants (execution sponsor).

The workshop is $500 per person, $400 per person for teams of four or more, $400 for Young Presidents Organization, Entrepreneurs Organization, Vistage, Clarity Council and Society of Entrepreneurs Insight Group Members. To learn more, visit or, call 488-8172 or email