Synergy in Teams

Synergy (def) Synergy: (noun) the mutually beneficial combination or compatibility between distinct business players or components (as resource or effort)

Synergy within teams, whether at the workplace, small groups, or sporting teams, is the fantastic sensation of having things go smoothly, and the outcomes of the team are far beyond the norm. Synergy is what differentiates the champions of a team and the team that is a champion. When a team is a champion, each team member’s abilities could be thought to be expected, but in the collective, they exceed expectations. The problem is that this incredible experience is often difficult to cultivate and is even more challenging to sustain.

The question is: what are the general principles (i.e., principles that can be applied everywhere and at any time) that encourage synergy regardless of whether the system is physical or a mechanical system or even the human social system? With these concepts, is synergy able to be created in any situation?

There are three critical elements to creating synergy. If a team can manage to follow these guidelines, it stands the best possibility of making the synergy they need in their units.

1. Non-interference

The primary factor in synergy is to ensure that the elements of the team aren’t interfering with each other. This can be achieved through various ways:

A) The members of the team have specific roles and goals which do not adversely impact or conflict with other roles or objective
B) Team members agree to be in agreement and put aside any personal or professional disagreements to reach the goal of the team
c) Understanding who is part of the same team as you so that you are able to put them in the best position so that they will be most effective

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Imagine a soccer game with a no-one-to-play rule that is played with everyone on his own. The game can quickly turn into a tense melee in which everyone is trying to get the ball, and it will be actively preventing others from receiving the ball. Consider a soccer match that is organized, where each player is aware of his role as well as what’s expected from him. Players from the same team are not likely to interfere with the play of their teammates (i.e., they’re not interfering). They are able to focus on the role they play within the sport.

2. INTER-AUGMENTATIVE

The second aspect of synergy is that once the elements do not interfere with one another, it is possible for them to interact and also to support each other in their respective roles and the results they produce.

An example of this in real-world things is the mechanical clock. The springs and gears in the clock do not really accomplish much; however, when combined inside a watch, the interactions between the parts create an object that can be used to keep track of the passing of time.

3.  (SYNCHRONISABLE)

An example of alignment within an ensemble would be the classical music orchestra. How do diverse instruments (drums, strings, percussion instruments, and wind instruments) can combine their unique sounds to create a beautiful music piece? However, they may also make the sound of a roar when playing together. It is the job of the conductors to coordinate the orchestra by keeping the various instruments in tune with each with respect to an inter-augmenting and non-interfering pattern, which allows them to produce stunning music.

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A successful team must have someone who can lead them in a direction or vision OR is able to create a robust shared motivation and image among the team members, allowing them to work in a similar approach.

4. Summary

To make synergy be successful, these three elements are required to be present and are operating among every member of the team. Synergy isn’t something that happens on its own, and it has to be an interaction between at least two individuals to occur.

“There is no substance. There aren’t things. Interfering or non-interfering patterns that operate within pure principles. They are forever. Principles never contradict principles. Principles are able to coexist but only in non-interfering frequency methods. Principles may interaugment each other in the event that they can synchronize their frequency.”

R. Buckminster Fuller, Critical Path, p158

* Non-interfering
* Inter-augmentative
* Aligned (synchronizable)

Alvin Wee is a Consulting Director at Ascella Consulting Sdn Bhd, which is a training and consultancy firm that specializes in corporate restructuring, management of change, and chemical technology-related training. He has a wealth of experience helping companies recover from financial hardship to profitability and has an excellent foundation for the creation of ecologically responsible chemical products.

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