Over my 25+ years in the business world, I have heard the word synergy multiple times. In the early years, no one knew what it meant. As time went by, when we heard the word, most often, it meant people were going to be losing their jobs. The more promotions I received, and as I worked my way into executive management, I understood the importance of synergy. A great definition this week was stated as “synergy is a cooperative or combined action and occurs when diverse or disparate individuals or groups collaborate for common cause…to increase effectiveness by sharing perceptions and experiences, insights, and knowledge” (Moran, Abramson, & Moran, 2014, p. 266).
Using this thought, culture synergy is taking all the diversity that a group has and determining what best parts of each person will create the most efficient team. Because the synergy is brought down to the team member level, each person can a direct impact on the choices that are made and the behaviors that are displayed (PSU WC, 2019, L6). One crucial element that a team leader needs to keep in mind when they are working on synergy is ensuring that an organization’s vision, values, and missions are clearly defined and supported. It can be somewhat challenging to obtain synergy within a group when you have team members that do not support the organization’s visions or values.
We should also ask ourselves is there a downside to synergy, should we be looking for to make the team act as one instead of the creativity of individuals? I believe one of the biggest downfalls of synergy within a team is the road in which we get there. If a leader does not communicate what their expected goals are for a team, instead tries to make the teamwork better through synergies, most likely, the team will fail because the goals that the leader failed to share did not get met (Campbell and Goold, 2014). The other downside of leaders trying to obtain synergies is the time and effort spent trying to get there. Instead of a leader realizing the synergies they have, they are distracted by trying to gain more instead of trying to resolve an issue or run their current operations (Campbell and Goold, 2014).
So, as we can see, there are great things and bad things that can be said about synergies. I do think that they are a good thing and should be explored by leadership; however, I also believe that we should not be so caught up in trying to obtain them that we lose sight of the bigger picture. As I said in the beginning, I have been involved in main organization changes that we made trying to obtain synergies. Some have worked out well, and others we lost valuable time trying to undo when it did not work. The one lesson that I think we all can learn is that we need to understand our teams first before we attempt synergy, we need to see what skillset each individual brings to the table and how effectively it is being used or how we can enhance it for collaboration for the common cause.
Campbell, A., & Goold, M. (2014, August 01). Desperately seeking synergy. Retrieved October 14, 2019, from https://hbr.org/1998/09/desperately-seeking-synergy
Moran, R. T., Abramson, N. R., & Moran, S. V. (2014). Managing cultural differences: Leadership skills and strategies for working in a global world. New York: Elsevier.
PSU World Campus. (2019). Olead 410 Lesson 06: cultural synergy Retrieved from PSU World Campus https://psu.instructure.com/courses/2008449/modules/items/27026977