Synergy is one of those business buzzwords that never seems to completely go away. I remember it was banned in one of the workplaces I was in, along with several other words that were identified as being nothing more than filler. But when understood and applied correctly, the principles of Synergy make a dramatic difference in the performance of all teams, especially in a business context.
With synergy, we’re looking for the ways in which we can change the normal 1 + 1 equation and deliver something greater than 2. Like most things we recommend at Strategic Ventures, it requires some preparation and dedication to pull off.
There are five key steps to ensure before you can expect a synergistic result in your business:
- Build Trust
- Align on Purpose
- Offer Alternatives
- Get it Together
- Make it Happen
We need to first start with a foundation of trust. You can’t build synergy when people are second guessing motives or looking for deception. Synergy comes from a combination of parts that create something new – but if some parts are being held back, the effect is dramatically reduced.
Align on Purpose
This is also a play on words – you need to be intentional about what your purpose is, and making sure there is an agreement on what you’re all here for. Make sure you don’t have different ideas about why you exist, what you offer, and why you’re all together.
Among yourselves, determine what you could do differently to deliver on your objectives. There are always a range of options, and even just the act of discussing them will create space for some creative ideas to flow. What you’re looking for is a way to utilize strengths that are untapped, and even ways to identify potential partnerships that could cover weaknesses in your team. But you won’t hit that idea first, so be prepared to dig through the weeds of useless and pointless ideas that will hopefully inspire that moment of genius that comes when we give creativity some space. Be open to disagreements, arguments and discussions – this is where the gold will come from.
Get it Together
One vital part of the process is getting unity. It’s not about consensus or agreement – but a commitment to work together on the goal, using the tools and ideas determined together. The time for disagreement has been and gone – now it’s time to pull together and make sure you’re all moving in the same direction.
Make it Happen
Of course, all the discussion and agreement in the world won’t change anything. It’s time to get into the dirt and make changes. Create tools, checklists, documents, references. Practice delivery using the new methods – and most important of all: measure the success. Some of the best ideas just don’t make it into the real world the way we’d like. You’d be missing the whole point to attempt something new, but never measure it well enough to realize you’ve just made things worse!
If you’ve missed it, you can see the previous articles on the Seven Habits of Highly Effective People here: