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Synergy in Teams

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Synergy (def):- (noun) a mutually advantageous conjunction or compatibility of distinct business participants or elements (as resources or efforts)

Synergy in teams, whether in the workplace, small groups or sporting teams, is that amazing feeling where things seem to flow smoothly, and the results of the team are beyond the ordinary. Synergy is the difference between a team of champions, and a championship team. In a championship team, the individual team member’s talents may be considered to be just ordinary, but somehow within the team, they perform beyond expectations. The sad part is that this amazing experience is sometimes hard to cultivate, and even harder to maintain.

The question is, what are the generalized principles (i.e. principles that works anywhere and anytime) that promotes synergy, whether in a physical system, a mechanical system, or even a human social system? And knowing these principles, can synergy be consistently produced under any condition?

There are 3 major keys in creating synergy, and if a team is able to apply these principles, then there is a very good chance for them to create synergy in their teams.

1. NON-INTERFERING

The first key to synergy is that the elements or the team members are non-interfering with each other. This can be accomplished in several ways:

a) The team members have specific roles and objectives that do not adversely affect or interferes with any other roles or objectives

b) The team members agree to agree, and to set aside any personal or professional differences in order to achieve the team’s desired outcome

c) Knowing who is on your team, so you are able to place them in the position where they can do the most good

Imagine a free-for-all soccer match, where it is every player for himself. The match will quickly degenerate into a chaotic melee where everyone is fighting for the ball, and will actively prevent the other players from getting the ball. Compare this to an organized soccer match, where every player knows his position, and what is expected of him. The players on the same team are unlikely to get in the way of their fellow team mates (i.e. they are non-interfering), and they can focus on the roles they are playing in the game.

2. INTER-AUGMENTATIVE

The second key to synergy is that, once the elements are non-interfering with each other, it is possible for the elements to interact with each other, and to mutually support each other in their roles and their results.

One such example in real-life object would be a mechanical clock. By itself, the gears and springs in a clock don’t really do much, but when they are put together in a clock, the interactions between the components creates an item that is able to track the passage of time.

3. ALIGNED (SYNCHRONISABLE)

An example of alignment in a team would be in a classical music orchestra. How is it that the various musical instruments (drums, string instruments, wind instruments) can blend their distinctive sounds into a wonderful musical piece, where they can also cause a horrible noise if they were all played together. It is the role of the conductor to align the orchestra, by keeping the different instruments in sync with each other, and in a non-interfering and inter-augmenting pattern that allows them to create beautiful music.

Therefore, an effective team either needs a leader who can lead them into a common direction or vision, OR has a strong mutual drive and vision between the team members that allows them to move in a common direction.

4. Summary

In order for synergy to happen, these 3 keys must be present, and is operating between all the members within the team. Synergy doesn’t happen in isolation, there must be interactions between at least 2 person for it to be possible.

“There are no solids. There are no things. There are only interfering and non-interfering patterns operative in pure principles, and principles are eternal. Principles never contradict principles. Principles can interaccomodate one another only in non-interfering frequency ways. Principles can interaugment one another if frequency is synchronisable.”

R. Buckminster Fuller, Critical Path, p158

· Non-interfering

· Inter-augmentative

· Aligned (synchronisable)

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Source by Alvin Wee

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