I don’t often endorse books, let alone blog about them. But Les McKeown’s The Synergist is just too good not to share.

The first few chapters set the arc. They chronicle the adventures of working in teams with archetypical characters like “The Visionary (Hold on Tight, We’re Going to Mars)”, “The Operator (Yay, Let’s Build a Rocket Ship)”, “The Processor (Not So Fast. Where’s Your Requisition Slip?)”, and the inevitable result, “Gridlock”. If you’ve every worked in a team environment, you know where this is going. I found myself chuckling throughout the book as I reflected on my own experiences (and crimes against productivity). It was either laugh or cry.

Enter the Synergist, a champion of maturity and progress whose management style I desperately hoped would reflect my own. Alas, I have some work to do. I won’t spoil the punch line; let’s just say every functioning team needs at least one Synergist.

In business we place a premium on intelligence, but high IQ simply isn’t enough in–and in fact can work against–struggling companies when smart, accomplished members of the management team lock horns. The higher the IQs involved, the worse things can get. A considerable amount of emotional intelligence is required to deal with complex conflicts that rear their heads when things go south.

McKeown has done a valuable service exposing why groups are unproductive (or worse) and empowering those of us who wish to head off disastrous outcomes. It’s not that the “how to” is difficult; it’s the “want to” that’s often lacking. That’s where the Synergist begins, and McKeown unlocks the (surprisingly simple) keys to what comes next.

I’m hoping in the coming year that I can enhance my Synergist skills to help the teams with which I work become more productive. But I’m not stopping there—I’m going to get a copy of The Synergist for every member of my staff. I recommend you pick one up, too.