Gini Dietrich

#FollowFriday: The Synergist

By: Gini Dietrich | December 2, 2011 | 

One of my favorite business books of 2010 was, hands down, Les McKeown’s Predictable Success.

In it he talks about the phases a business goes through, from start-up and growth through becoming stodgy and old.

I actually keep my copy on my desk so, when I’m having a bad day, I can refer back to it to see if what we’re going through is normal.

It always makes me feel better.

So, when he asked me if I’d review his latest book, The Synergist, I gave a resounding yes.

This is a leadership book, in the truest sense of the word. Even if you’re not a “leader” by definition inside your organization, but you work with others, this book is for you.

The Synergist is the person who is typically unseen and unrecognized, but is crucial in every successful team that is trying to achieve common goals. He believes these people exist in every organization and that you don’t have to learn new skills or become someone you’re not, in order to achieve this level of leadership.

He believes the natural Synergists exist, though they’re rare, so he teaches you how to emulate that style, irrespective of your natural style.

Even an ADD, introvert like me can learn how to lead meetings and conference calls that don’t drone on forever (I hate meetings) and get the most out of people without conflict.

But what I like most about the book is he discusses the three types of people you’re likely to work with: The visionary, the operator, and the processor. These types of people exist at all levels of the organization and learning to work with each personality type is crucial not only to business success, but your own success.

When I worked at Fleishman-Hillard, I had a boss who would say, “You need to learn how to manage up.”

I never understood that. Wasn’t I the one who was supposed to be managed? But she was right. And Les teaches you how to manage each, no matter what level you are in the organization.

Written in the form I’ve come to love from Les, he includes case studies where names have been changed, so it’s almost as if you’re reading a good fiction book where you learn something you can apply to your business, your career, or even your outside-of-work involvement.

And for you social nerds, he has a QR code at the end of each chapter, which you can scan to get more information, case studies, and exercises to work on becoming The Synergist.

The book isn’t released until January 3 so put it on your holiday gift list. It’ll be the gift that keeps on giving and will start your 2012 out right.

Disclosure: I did receive a free and uncorrected advance reader’s edition of the book. He even signed it (though I’m waiting for my actual signed copy). I also had dinner with Les and his wife, Julie, several months ago. But in no way, shape, or form did that influence my review of this book because he hadn’t even started writing it yet. And he didn’t buy my dinner. Or my wine. On the other hand…this books sucks!

About Gini Dietrich

Gini Dietrich is the founder and CEO of Arment Dietrich, an integrated marketing communications firm. She is the author of Spin Sucks, co-author of Marketing in the Round, and co-host of Inside PR. She also is the lead blogger at Spin Sucks and is the founder of Spin Sucks Pro.


I just laughed out loud "And he didn’t buy my dinner. Or my wine. On the other hand…this books sucks!" Remind me to buy you wine if, one, I ever write a book and two, I have you review it.


Interesting theme for a book - Would love to read it. How true is the 'managing up' part. Bosses actually expect their subordinates to Manage Up. It takes some time to grasp really! Maybe you could have asked him to give away some free books to bloggers who comment here ;)


I love Friday book review times! It's fun (and helpful) to see what you're reading. I've preordered @lesmckeown 's book. Can't wait to read it. I'm dorkily looking forward to the QR codes at the end of each chapter!

Soulati | Hybrid PR
Soulati | Hybrid PR

I signed up already to get this book, and I am sending Predictable Success to someone for a holiday gift. Thanks for this review!


Thanks @ginidietrich for the awesome book review AND for introducing me to Les McKeown's Predictable now resides in my Kindle. I love your Friday book reviews....this is great!!!


Just put on my reading list for next year and recommended for my company's book club.

Soon we'll see if my trust in you is warranted or not. :)

John Falchetto
John Falchetto

I am in the middle of reading @lesmckeown advance reader edition and yes so far it doesn't disappoint.

I also love the case studies, now that you stole my book review @ginidietrich I have to get back to work and write a new one ;)


Hey thanks, Gini - I really appreciate your typically insightful review.

If only I'd known had I actually paid for that blade of grass and a peanut you ate that I'd have got an even better review, I'd have done so with a heart and a half :)

Anyhoo... if you or your vast legion of friends and commenters are interested in finding out if they are a Visionary, Operator, Processor or Synergist (the work styles you mention), here's a sneak access to the free quiz that comes with the book:

Thanks again, Gini, and next time, dinner's on you.

Howie Goldfarb
Howie Goldfarb

I am definitely a Visionary Synergistic Operating Leader and some say part swine, but affectionately of course. But damn it i refuse to process. Leave that work for others.

sounds like a great book and I don't read business books. I now have a few of interest to check out out of the blue.

If you sell enough books for Les maybe he will reimburse you for your dinner.

ginidietrich moderator

@John Falchetto You could just write, "Until Les sends a bottle of red wine to both Gini and me, this book sucks."


  1. […] out on January 3, 2012, “The Synergist” continues the story of Predictable Succes – this time, focusing on the personality types that […]

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