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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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