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Where’s the Synergy?

“What I want is synergy, I can’t really explain it, but it’s a feeling among team members that let’s us know we’ve got it – I want that feeling, I want synergy. “

I’ve heard the above quote, or some variation thereof, from leaders and team members more than I can recall. So many are in search of this mysterious element that we believe contributes to relationships and team performance called synergy. Like a mythical creature, we’ve all heard of it, some have attempted to find it, and a few claim to have seen it.

What is synergy? Where does it come from? Where does it start? What keeps it from staying once it appears. Can we mandate it? Maybe we can make people synergize. Sounds like something out of Star Trek, huh? Perhaps if we put it in a policy people would do it. What’s your company’s synergy policy? Do you have one? Of course you don’t.   Seriously, what is this synergy thing?

The most simplistic definition of Synergy can be captured in two words – Working Together. But I want to take it a little deeper. I believe synergy is more than working together; it’s how we work together.

It’s the spirit in which we work together, it’s that elusive feeling we all yearn for on our teams, it’s the “it” factor. It’s when the right people are doing the right thing the right way for the right reason. It’s when people want to be on the team together. It’s beyond a job, it’s journey. Synergy arises when my strengths compliment your weaknesses and vice-versa. Synergy appears when I know my contribution matters and you know your contribution matters and we know each others’ contribution matters. Synergy is birthed when we click, when we fit. Synergy appears when we’re inclusive and value the pool of diverse perspectives, experiences, and expertise among the team.

Synergy is evidence of a selfless team – members don’t compete with each other, they compliment each other. Synergy among team members is like chemistry in a relationship.

So what does all of this mean to leaders and team members?:

  1. When building your team, place a priority on the relationship over the resume. Yes, certain qualifications are important, but last time I checked, resumes don’t work together, people do.
  2. Make sure everyone knows how his or her part contributes to the whole. No role is insignificant – every position on the team matters.
  3. Find people who want to be there. Nothing will destroy synergy quicker than people with a “have to be there” attitude – they become toxic to your culture.

Tell us when and where you found synergy.  When have you been part of a team and felt the synergy effect??

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How Technology is Changing Teambuilding

Technology has come a long way in the last decade, and this IT revolution has dramatically changed the way that teams work on projects. Instead of wasting days commuting from one plant to another on costly business trips, teams can now work online to collaborate and share ideas. Companies that use video teleconferencing technology have a competitive advantage on other companies who rely on the old-fashioned methods of business. Today, you can share files, work on presentations real-time and exchange information in the blink of an eye. Whether you are in the nonprofit, government or corporate sector, you will benefit from the rapid expansion of information technology capabilities to strengthen teams.

Team building that is conducted online lets a company reach more of the members in the organization. With video teleconferencing capabilities, there is no need to budget for travel, hotels and meals. This allows a company to include more of their junior employees and emerging leaders. Companies can find opportunities to develop key players who would not have been involved in these workshops or seminars in the past. This allows a company to leverage their human capital to a degree that has never been seen before.

It is documented that team building increases a company’s performance since employees are bought in to the vision and mission of the company when they feel like they are contributing to the end goal. Technology has made it easier to conduct governance tasks that need to be completed on a regular basis. This saves time. It also allows senior executives to spend their time focusing on other areas of importance. Some leading companies use teleconferences as an opportunity to get all of their team members on the same page. If a project needs to get done in a hurry, it is easy to log in or dial in and start the information exchange process.

Whether your company is looking to improve leadership from your mid-level managers or you need to figure out ways to capitalize on cross-sector synergies, the Weathers Group can offer you solutions that will help your team improve their overall performance. A company’s strength should be its human capital, and today’s latest IT trends have made it easier than ever before to build teams. This teaming empowers your workforce. Teaming also allows you to take on more complicated projects that offer a larger return on investment.

How has technology impacted your teambuilding efforts????

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Listen, You Might Just Learn Something

There’s something magnificent about the art of listening – especially for those in a position to lead or manage others in pursuit of a goal or objective. For instance, one time a client was considering changing their mission statement. The organization had been in existence for over 75 years and they weren’t sure if the mission was still relevant. The individual members of the Board of Directors had strong opinions to change or not to change, and the CEO had their own opinion as well. There was fear and uncertainty because no one was quite sure how a change in the mission statement would impact their brand and image in the community. This is precisely why the Board and CEO decided they needed to ask their stakeholders for their opinions. Before making such a monumental decision they agreed to seek input and guidance from staff, clients, the public at-large, former board members, donors (this is a non-profit), vendors, partner agencies, and even adversaries. They asked, they listened, and here’s the magnificent part – they learned. The lessons they learned were numerous – I’ve chosen to share the following 3 with you. Whether you’re a Fortune 500 company, a County Council or a nonprofit, I’m confident there’s a lesson in here for you.

  1. Listening Requires a Dose of Humility. It takes humility to admit, someone knows what you don’t. “I don’t know”, isn’t a very popular phrase you hear taught in leadership and management classes. In this situation the leaders had to admit, they didn’t know what to do – they were teachable. Even though the ultimate decision would be theirs they felt others might have some insight to guide their decision. Imagine, a Board and CEO asking staff members and clients for their opinions. Humility provided the space for them to learn that all their stakeholders had valuable input that came from perspectives they would have never seen or considered.
  2. Listening can Remove the Guesswork. Some were hesitant to change the mission because they thought they may lose donors, funders, or confuse the community – they weren’t sure if this would happen, but felt strongly it could. By asking, listening, and learning from their stakeholders they removed much of the guesswork. Though they didn’t talk to every individual in the community, they got feedback from a representative sample that would let any statistician sleep well at night. In one case one of the primary donors that some feared would walk away, applauded the fact that the Board was, “Considering their relevancy and demonstrating their willingness to reconnect with the community.”
  3. Listening Builds Trust. High-Trust is the foundation of any functioning relationship, team, organization, or company. Listening builds and breeds trust because you demonstrate to others that they matter, their opinions matter, and their thoughts matter. If people feel like they don’t matter then they won’t trust you. In some instances when stakeholders were asked for their perspective during this project they used it as an opportunity to “say what was on their mind.” And trust me, they said it. This contributed to building trust because the board, CEO and other leaders listened to understand – not respond. Listening didn’t mean they were going to do everything everyone wanted them to do.       It meant they were going to seek, receive, and thoughtfully consider the input to help form their decision. When the ultimate decision was made, one reason stakeholders supported it was because they were part of it – it was easier to trust a decision that you played an integral part in making.

Listening will result in several positive benefits for the teachable individual, team and organization. Remember, listening requires humility, removes the guesswork and builds trust. Take the time today to listen to your stakeholders. You might just learn something. Oh by the way, they successfully changed the mission statement after listening to their stakeholders.

These are just a few of the benefits of listening. Do you have any others to add? Let us know in the comments.

 

Additional Resources to Enhance Your Listening Skills:

http://www.forbes.com/sites/womensmedia/2012/11/09/10-steps-to-effective-listening/

https://hbr.org/1957/09/listening-to-people/ar/1

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