A search for books on business strategy will leave you with over 40,000 titles to choose from. A search for books on business execution will leave you with over 5,000 more. What many of these texts lack is a succinct guide to the integration of these two essential attributes. Without execution, the most comprehensive strategies move nowhere. Without strategy, the most efficient execution leads anywhere. Your organization needs both attributes working in tangent to avoid becoming either stagnant or misdirected.  


Moving Rocks & Pushing Sand

Gravitas Impact Premium Coach Michael Synk addressed this lack of focus on alignment in his book Rock & Sand. Initially published in 2013, the original Rock & Sand introduced the concept of “moving rocks” and “pushing sand” as analogies for the competing priorities of business growth. Synk explained, “You’re ‘pushing sand’ when you are performing the basic tasks of your business. You’re ‘moving rocks’ when you are working on something that makes ‘pushing sand’ easier, faster or more profitable.”

Your business can survive on pushing sand, but it cannot grow if you aren’t also moving rocks. This tension forms the foundation for the necessity of bringing your strategy and execution together. Determining which rocks to push is an essential part of strategy, as is allotting sufficient time to both efforts and assigning team members to their execution. The act of pushing sand and moving rocks, while execution, ties back directly to the strategic decisions and direction of your organization’s growth.


The Premium Edition

After coaching clients through the Rock & Sand model, Synk noted that an essential element of the process was missing from the original edition. While the book addressed the issues clients might face in selecting and moving their rocks, it didn’t provide the tools needed to solve them. “That led to flushing out the model even more by wrapping the Gravitas Impact curriculum around that basic picture,” Synk shared.

The Premium Edition of Rock & Sand, published last month, brings together the insights and expertise of 11 Gravitas Impact Premium Coaches worldwide, and includes 12 downloadable tools to implement the concepts within the book. Synk explains, “For the second half, each chapter presents a concept, a tool and explains how you use that tool to grow your business.”


Strategy is a Team Sport

“The underlying theme,” Synk shares, “is that strategy is a team sport. It’s not something you hand down to people. If you hand it down, people don’t buy in. You have to lead the strategy as head of the company, but you also have to include the team, the people involved in execution, to get it right. You have to get the people who know how to push the sand to sit down and say this is how we can improve.”

It was this theme of community engagement that led Synk to involve the Gravitas Impact Coaching Community. “We are all experts in our fields. We have coaches worldwide, we have coaches from all levels of experience. We tapped into the community to do this because that’s strategy. It’s about getting everyone involved and invested in the collective effort.”

FREE Chapter of Rock & Sand

The “Rock and Sand” model challenges the “myth” of strategic complexity and simplifies its execution, paving the way to business growth. 

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Coach Michael Synk

Coach Michael Synk

Michael Synk is a Business Coach / Consultant focused on helping Business Owners and Leadership Teams of small to midmarket companies in the Mid-South, Little Rock, and St Louis.