Episode #057: Take Your Teamwork To The Next Level


As part of our few special episodes, we are talking about something that indirectly – yet profoundly – affects our businesses and music careers, and that is different personalities and leadership styles. Sometimes you just click with people and other times you bump heads with members of your team and you find yourself wondering what’s going on. The truth is, you need those people in your team. You need people to not only agree with you but to challenge you and stand in for you in those areas where you struggle, and vice versa. We are all wired differently and therefore we bring different things to the table and we need to recognize how our strengths and weaknesses function together to make a well-rounded team. Today Leah shares more about the different types of leaders and also about the relationally inclined synergist who we all need to become more like. We strongly encourage you and your team to do The Synergist quiz to see which kind of leader you are and how you can best work together. This is also a great tool if you’re thinking about getting a team together, so be sure to listen in for some really helpful information! 

Key Points from This Episode:

  • More about The Synergist quiz and the four different leadership styles. 
  • Why everybody needs to be a synergist or work at becoming more like one. 
  • Why you eventually need each one of the four leaders on your team. 
  • Examples of how the different leaders complement one another. 
  • A few humorous pointers for visionaries in the workplace. 
  • A brief description of each of the natural occurring leadership styles.
  • How the synergist is fundamentally different to the other types of leaders. 
  • Playing all the different roles when starting off your business. 
  • And much more! 


“Everybody needs to be a synergist in their business, in their workplace, in their home.” — @LEAHthemusic [0:04:33]

“I say, have all your band mates take this quiz too because then you know what you’re dealing with as far as like just personalities and the way people are wired.” — @LEAHthemusic [0:11:53]

Links Mentioned in Today’s Episode:

Superfan System Elite — https://savvymusicianacademy.com/elite/call/

Savvy Musician Mastermind on Facebook — https://www.facebook.com/groups/savvymusician/

Predictable Success Quiz — https://getpredictablesuccess.com/styles-quiz/ 

The Synergist Book —  https://amzn.to/2lLIV1t 

Airtable — https://airtable.com/

Click For Full Transcript

00:22 CJ: Welcome to the Savvy Musician Show. This is CJ Ortiz, the branding and mindset coach here at the Savvy Musician Academy. As I mentioned, we’re doing two very special podcast episodes. Last week, we did the secret to understanding social media. These are two episodes taken from our Elite coaching calls. You’re getting a backstage look at some of the very in-depth coaching that Leah, myself and the other team members here at the Savvy Musician Academy do each month with our Elite students.

Today, Leah is talking about in episode 57, “Take your teamwork to the next level.” Now, this is being taken from a book that she shared with our Elite members called The Synergist by Les McKeown. How to lead your team to predictable success and it has to do with self-assessment. Maybe you’ve taken personality profiles in the past. But when you understand the way that you’re wired and when you finally understand the way your team members are wired, you’re going to be launched into a new season of productivity that you’ve never experienced before.

This works for relationships of all sorts. No matter what you’re doing right now, even if you’re involved in a day job and it’s not so much being applied to your team or your band members. This is something that is going to seriously make a difference in your life. To understand the different ways in which we are naturally wired and how we can learn to work better together. Take your teamwork to the next level.

Let’s go in right now to Leah’s Elite coaching call.

01:59 Leah: The first thing I wanted to talk about was The Synergist quiz which was really fun and I have Steve join us. I think he’ll be here in just a minute, we’re putting kids down for naps and stuff like that during this call. The reason I want to bring Steve on to talk about The Synergist quiz is because we went through that quiz together. All three years ago.

That was right after we had launched SMA. It’s a good thing that we took that quiz because honestly, up until that point in time, him and I would clash a lot on our differences and we did not appreciate each other’s natural wirings and giftings, it was always like a point of clashing rather than a point of appreciation.

After that quiz and when you do it, they give you a little, just a very short summary and then if you sign up, they send you more information about that. Then they have a book as well which we’ll share the link with you today. When we ran through those summaries and everything, it was like a mind-blowing lightbulb moment and our business mentor said to us, Leah, you’re a visionary and Steve is an operator synergist. You two are incredibly lucky and blessed that you’re married to each other.

You couldn’t have a better combination and I was blown away because you know when we did Myers Briggs test and stuff, that always said that we were the worst combination on like planet earth that we shouldn’t even be married. These test – yet we took this one and saying, basically, we could be a real power team together if we learn to work together like that. That completely changed my perspective on our relationship, it changed our perspective on even just dealing with parents and kids relationships and then of course, in like a workplace environment when you’re building a team.

Who is it that you need? The basic premise of this whole Synergist thing is if for anybody who didn’t get to take the test there are four different kinds of leadership styles and everybody’s a leader but you lead in different ways. You have the visionary, you have the operator, get the processor and you have the synergist.

04:08 Leah: Most people are a combination of all four, although, some of us are more dominant toward the three. Now, the deal is that everybody needs to learn to become a synergist. A synergist is like a skill that can be learned. It’s basically being able to get along with everybody, being empathetic, understanding where other people are coming from instead of being dominating and imposing our perspective on everybody else.

Everybody needs to be a synergist in their business, in their workplace, in their home. Really, it’s a trait that, it’s people skills. But some people are naturally wired to be like that, they just woke up out of bed and they just get along with everybody. Everybody loves them.

Other people like me and other people who are very high on like the visionary end of the spectrum, we tend to not have as much natural synergism and we have to work at it. It doesn’t mean we’re automatic jerks but it just means that we have to develop the people skills side more than other people, we just have to work harder at that.

That relational level. Because for me, I’m very much like get to the point, let’s talk about results, I just want to deal with the stuff, you know? It all bypass sometimes, the relational side but because I’m an artist, I think that the artist side definitely makes us some more in touch with the relationships I think.

05:26 Leah: Yeah, everybody needs to learn to be a synergist, but here’s why I actually wanted you to take it is because as you guys start to grow in your music business, you’re going to want to start building out your team and by team, I don’t mean like they’re on salary necessarily but contractors and people you work with all the time, you know, graphic artists, even, I don’t know, an assistant, virtual assistant, things like that and it’s going to be really important for who you hire and who you work with and that you make them take this test, make sure you take the test because if you’re a high operator, what you don’t need is another operator. 

You need a processor or you need a visionary. Going back to the four basic things, in order to get off the ground, you’re starting like a company, if you were starting a business or a company, you need all four of those roles to properly launch this thing and get it off the ground and to scale. You can actually get away with not having those other three roles for a period of time but you will hit a ceiling.

For me being a visionary, if I try to launch Savvy Musician Academy and I didn’t have Steve, I would make it to a certain point in success but then it would just stagnate because I’m all vision, I was all about what I was imagining and what I wanted to do and I just want to get it done. But without systems and processes. 

Airtable, the excel spreadsheets without having the relational people and knowing how to form relationships and manage people and things like that. We wouldn’t even be sitting here having this conversation right now. Elite wouldn’t exist because I couldn’t do it all myself.

07:09 Leah: I would imagine Elite but it wouldn’t have taken shape and form and actually manifested into a real program of changing lives. Think about your dominant characteristic and I have actually my awesome team put together all of your results for me, I have you all here in a little spreadsheet.

Jeff Pierce is 510 visionary, 150 operators, 60 processor and 240 synergist. Your high synergist and high visionary, that’s amazing by the way. Great combination. Hour lower end is processor for example. If you were to need help, say in the future with a virtual assistant, you’d probably want them to be a lot higher a score of an operator and processor. 

Somebody who like to get stuff done and somebody who loves to put together systems and processes and they love and are in love with Airtable, you know? They could just sit there and look at data all day long and just love it. You can just kind of tell them, “Hey, I need this to happen, I need that to happen” and then they go and actually kind of do it and then they can also put it in spreadsheets for you so you can know and properly look at the data and make decisions.

That’s what you do with this information and we can recommend the book – the book called The Synergist and I just think this is an amazing book for everybody to read because this is more than like business skill. This is kind of a life thing but it will help you know how to proceed when it’s time to scale.

08:46 Leah: Some of you guys are going to be doing that this year, this coming year. If you have it, we can pop that link in the chat, it’s an Amazon link so there you go, yeah, you guys want to find it and yeah, the guys is Les McKeown and he has other programs he helps build up big businesses and stuff. And help them scale.

This is just radically important. I just think it’s so life-changing. Read all the material you can, if you just do the free stuff, even if you don’t read the book, read the emails that he sends you, there’s some other little snippets that are really fantastic. Yeah, the bottom line, if you’re al processor for example, you will really not get very far without a visionary aspect in your music business or in any business. You will need somebody to speak into your life or into your music business that can dream big.

But I don’t think anybody in here scored really high on processor. What I’m seeing here, that’s the lowest score for most of you guys which makes sense, we’re musicians, right? When not a lot of us are like data junkies. But visionary was big, I think higher on the operator and high on the synergist which is cool. Only a couple of people got zero synergist.

Christian got zero synergist, Marcela got zero synergist and I just did the quiz again myself this morning. I do it periodically because here’s what I found is that sometimes, it will change a little bit depending on the season of life you’re in. Right now, today, mine was 510 visionary, remember, this is out of 960 points. 510 visionary, 210 operator, 180 processor and 60 synergist.

10:27 Leah: The reason my processor’s a lot higher than it normally is because we’re trying to simplify things in SMA internal systems and stuff because I found that things have gotten really complex and I feel like it’s gotten a bit out of control because we use Infusionsoft, I call Confusionsoft. It feels like it takes a rocket science team to send one email, that’s how I feel.

We’re trying to simplify our internal system. I’m thinking about processes and even in my own music business with Peter. Him and I created a lot of processes this year. I mean, I have all over Airtable so normally my processor is way further down than that like 60 or 80 but right now, it’s a 180 because I’m focused on that right now. That makes sense that that’s important to me so a lot of the way I answer the quiz.

Hopefully, I’m not boring you all to death on this stuff. Then operator is like you want to just get stuff done and you just want to see – let’s talk about results, let’s talk about results, let’s get her done. I think a lot of us a part of that and then visionary is high, it’s not surprising to me at all that most of you guys are high visionary.

The only person who was low visionary was Chris Swan and super high operator and then kind of balance between processor and synergist. That’s a really interesting combination. I don’t know if I’ve seen that before. Chris, if you’re listening, you may have other bandmates that are visionary or somebody that you’re working with and may be high visionary. I say, have all your bandmates take this quiz too because then you know what you’re dealing with as far as like just personalities and the way people are wired and I don’t know why I get goosebumps but I do when I talk about this stuff because I feel like it just lands home for everybody, it’s just going to apply.

Yeah, this is hilarious when I retook the quiz this morning on the page after, it says a little more information. I see they updated a few things. “Since you’re all visionaries will read this, the visionary leaders, weekend mantra or how I learned that it’s not all about me”, this is on their website, this is funny.

12:28 Leah: Again, this is a work kind of business context but it’s still funny. “Being a visionary leader is the coolest, most important thing any organization needs, it’s also sometimes a short cut to being a jerk. Repeat after me. On Monday, I won’t hijack the weekly planning meeting with whatever stunning insight I read, heard or invented over the weekend. Instead, I’ll listen patiently and offer only what is relevant and on point, knowing that if my stunning insight is of any real value it will be just as relevant later in the week.” That’s so funny. 

“On Tuesday, I won’t pull some poor unsuspecting schmuck into my office and terrify him by asking an outrageously pointed though pointless question is they’ll take the same guy to lunch, find out how I can help him do his job better. On Wednesday, I will resist my arsonist tendencies. I won’t light a match and throw it some initiative that’s struggling to gain traction. Ooh instead, I will recognize that I was the person who started the damn initiative in the first place and I will do the hard work of buckling down to actually find out what’s going wrong and we’ll try to fix it.” That is a good one. 

“On Thursday, I will strenuously resist the need to yet again repeat and embellish barely believable stories without the magnificent feats of daring do I accomplished in the past. Instead, I will go out of my way to identify a recent real events that daring do that my team have accomplished and I will find a way to celebrate them without the main purpose being to draw attention to myself.” Ouch. 

“On Friday, I will recognize that not everyone in my organization has the same flexibility in their schedule than I have. I won’t stroll into the office wearing my golf shirt and slacks and saying, ‘Hey, how’s it going? We never talk these days, let’s shoot the breeze.’ Instead, I’ll realize that many people get their best work done on Fridays and well basically I won’t act like a jerk. I’ll go play golf, stay out of everyone’s way while they actually get good work done.” 

Okay, they actually have these for all of the results. So if you clicked on one of the links, it will take you to this page and you’d see they have one for everyone. So it was kind of funny, humorous. So I thought I’d share because most of you guys are high on the visionary spectrum. All right, is Steve on here? I think he is. I don’t know if you’re set up yet Steve but is there something you want to read a little excerpt out of that book before we move onto the questions? Because I just thought this was super helpful. 

14:43 Steve: So yeah, this is definitely something that we have gone through as a team here at SMA and it’s definitely helped us as a team function better but it is like as Leah said earlier though when we first started SMA, started working together, her and I took this and it was revolutionary for our marriage primarily but also totally helped with understanding each other and how we work together and learning how to because the whole point is, you want to appreciate everybody’s differences. 

We don’t all have the same strengths or the same weaknesses. So when you are building a team, you want to be able to lean on people where you are weak and you want them to lean on you where you are strong. So it’s been totally helpful for us. So I just want to read you, I am going to read from the – I think it is Chapter One summary and it just gives a short brief description of each of the natural styles. So it says: 

“Organizations do not achieve success. People achieve success through working individually and in groups and teams. Everyone who participates in group or teamwork tends to primarily in one of three naturally occurring styles: the visionary, the operator and the processor. Those are the naturally occurring styles. The synergist is more of a learned style. Some people generally have or naturally have but it is more of a learned style. 

So visionaries think big, they generate creative ideas and they take risks. They love risk. It does not cause them fear. It causes them excitement. They also become irritated by detail and can disengage easily when bored. So we’ve had it before in our team where we’ve gotten a lot better at this but there had been times when we have had long boring team meetings and Leah wants to pull out her hair and leave and so this, it just makes sense when you understand people. 

You can appreciate that. Anyways, it’s just funny. We laugh about it and joke about it all the time. Operators get stuff done. They take the visionary’s big idea and they translate it into actionable tasks they like to be left to work alone. They will do whatever is necessary to complete the task they are given even if it means breaking a few rules. So operators will drive processors crazy. Processors devise and monitor the systems and the procedures necessary to enable an organization or an enterprise to deliver consistent results in a complex environment. They think literally and objectively and are averse to undo risk.” 

So there are the three different natural styles. A couple of more things that I’d just read to you really quickly about each one. Just so you guys can all understand at least at the high level until you read the book what each of these means for you. So the visionary, “Visionaries abhor routine. They hate it. They adore discussion and they adore debate. They love those things. They are comfortable with ambiguity.” 

So they don’t need all the data in the world like the processor tends to, to make decisions. Visionaries just make decisions. They just do it. They just take the risk so they are all risk. “They trust their own judgment and they use that often. So they really go on their gut. They are not wedded to past decisions. So something worked in the past, it doesn’t mean it is going to work in the future and they’re totally okay with doing something different.”

“The processor on the other hand, they value routine. They trust data and they collect a lot of it. They hate risk. They are wary of intuition and hunches. They prefer not to be rushed. They really like to take their time and comb over all the details and make sure they’re eyes are dotted and their T’s are crossed and they tend toward the status quo.” So they don’t want to rock the boat. 

“The operator, they are action-oriented. They improvise and they move on. They ask forgiveness rather than permission. So they’ll make random decisions on their own and I totally do this and then I usually end up regretting it. So I am an operator by the way in our business. I am higher operator and very low visionary. So operators also work prodigious hours. They can be workaholics. They often work alone and they do not like being micromanaged.” 

They just like to be told, “Here is the job, here is what I expect at the end, now you go and do it” right? They just want to be left alone and let me do my work. Now, this all ties together is the synergist is the kumbaya person. They like relationships. Not that any of these other people don’t like relationships but the synergist is really relationally driven and they love peace. They love to bring people together for whatever the common thing is. 

So for the organization’s good, whereas this is the difference. The main difference here is the visionary, processor and operator, they are all driven by their own agenda. The synergist is driven by the agenda of the organization. That’s what drives them, that’s their primary objective that’s their primary concern and the operator, visionary and processor all have their own individual concerns that drives them. So getting a good balance and learning to be more synergist is definitely a good thing. 

If you do not have much synergist in you but it is also okay if you don’t have any synergist. So it is not the end of the world, this is just information. Take it, learn from it, grow from it and apply this. You can apply this to your music business. You can apply it to your relationships. I mean it is going to help in all of life. 

20:40 Leah: Yeah and what I love about this whole concept is the fact that we are not built and meant to be everything to everyone in order to be successful and that literally, we have limitations like wiring limitations. The way God wired us and there are other people we need in order to succeed and so like when you are getting any business off the ground, you play all four parts. You are the operator, you are the ad manager, you are the graphic designer sometimes even though we shouldn’t be. 

You are the customer service person, you are everything. That is totally normal, totally expected when you are getting off the ground. When you get to a certain level, you’ll know when that time comes. I think everybody is aware of that. There will be a time where you’ll be like, “Okay it is time for me to get some outside help” but even now, you guys already are. I mean you are most likely not designing your own graphics and your own artwork, right? 

So you are learning to delegate micro delegation right? Micro delegation is totally cool but then when you get to that next level, you are making consistent revenue and you don’t want to spend all day answering customer service emails coming in. Something went haywire at Shopify or whatever happened. Someone’s order didn’t arrive and you need to look into it or something, you don’t want to be the one doing that all the time. 

And so they have like a part-time assistant in the future. Just be thinking that way. Just be thinking to be prepared and then the exercise of letting go, you are going to face a little resistance there because it is your baby. You built this, you don’t want someone else to screw it up even though we screw it up all the time and I face this as a visionary. I am also a perfectionist too and I don’t know Steve if that runs for the other ones where visionaries are just naturally more perfectionist. 

But I definitely know that I am so I don’t like it when people screw up. It bothers me because that makes me feel like they don’t care as much about my business as I do and the fact is they don’t because it is not their business. So to just know that and then setting really clear expectations. We are going to talk about that today based on someone’s question. So I am so glad we talked about this. Sorry if I am all over the map I get excited about this sort of thing and I just see the value. 

And you guys understanding a little bit about this and how it can affect you personally and you build your music business going forward so. 

22:53 Steve: And I’ll just add to that too that this program, Elite program is to help you build a real business. We are not just giving you some principles to go start selling CDs which that is part of it but the purpose here is to help you build something that is really sustainable and long term. We are thinking long term here in this program. This is something that is going to last, it could be for the rest of your life, right? So a part of that is actual business principles and relationships and all that kind of stuff. So there will be stuff like this that we’ll throw in from time to time. 


23:29 CJ: Well, I am sure you got a lot out of that and you’re probably sitting there ready to take that sort of test and find out what your personality make up is. It’s is really, really an amazing thing. It will make a dramatic change as I said at the outset in every relationship that you experience in life. So what a treat. The Synergist, you can get the book, How to lead your team to predictable success by Les McKeown and here is what I like for you to do today: 

If you would like to take your music business to the next level, if you are tired of being confused, if you are tired of being frustrated just basking in questions and trying to search the Internet to listen to podcasts and YouTube videos to try and figure out how you can manage your way in this new industry, this new way of doing the music business, well then you need some help. You need something like the Savvy Musician Academy, our Elite program. 

And if you like to do that then I want you to do this: Visit callsma.com today. That is callsma.com and you could talk to one of our staff members and they will take you through what we do here in the elite program and see if it’s a good fit for you. It is making a difference in the lives and music careers of so many and that can be you. So go to callsma.com today and one more thing, if you’d like to show your appreciation for the Savvy Musician Show podcast then please go and leave a review. 

Give us five stars on whatever podcast channel you listen to this on, iTunes, Spotify, Google Play, Stitcher, leave us some stars and leave us a great review. It certainly helps us to rise in the rankings and it helps other people just like you discover this impactful podcast. So thanks again for all the support and we will see you next time. 

Leah McHenry

It's become my absolute obsession to find out what will make musicians successful today. In the face of many obstacles, and in the vast sea of the internet, we have an opportunity that has NEVER been available to us in the history of the music business.