There are a few words I dearly love. I love how they sound. I love what they mean. One of those words is ‘synergy’. It sounds neat but the meaning is fantastic. Simply put, it means the whole is greater than the sum of its parts.
A few years ago at the county fair in Miami County, Ohio; I witnessed a horse pull. A friend of mine raised and worked draught horses. I think they were Belgium’s, but I’m not sure. They were big and so very strong. What he explained about them was quite inspiring. Each of the draft horses could pull only so much weight by itself. But when teamed with others that amount went up by a greater number than just adding the two together. In fact, the more horses that were yoked together the greater the weight they could pull.
It wasn’t that each horse could pull ‘X’ amount; so four horses could pull 4 times ’X’. The formula was more startling than that. These figures aren’t necessarily accurate, but you understand what I’m saying. One horse can pull ‘X’ amount of weight. Two horses don’t pull 2 times ’X’, but rather more like 2.5 times ’X’. Three horses, not just 3 times ‘X’, but something like 4.25. The three together are pulling closer to what 4 horses can pull separately. The fourth horse takes the ‘X’-factor up to about what 6 horses can do. And so on. You see the whole is greater than the sum of its parts.
Good leaders are synergistic. They get the 100 % from their people. They can also get a synergistic effort from others so that the actual outcome of the team is greater than just the sum of its parts (strengths, talents, abilities, etc.). They capitalize on the strengths within the team. Members then augment and compliment each other in different ways so the team’s efforts and impact are multiplied.We know good leaders don’t subtract or divide team efforts. But good leaders do more than just put a team together. Good leaders bring synergy to the team so greater accomplishments happen.
Points to Ponder –
When you look at yourself and your team, how are you doing on synergy?
How would you define ‘synergy’ in your given situation?
When you evaluate team work, do you see yourself as an: ‘Adder’ or ‘Subtracter’ or ‘Multiplier’ or ‘Divider’? What’s the difference between them?
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