Synergy happens when diverse entities fuse together to create a new reality, which they must share. However, for successful fusion, communication must be fused, and boundaries must be flexible. Synergy, while difficult to achieve and maintain, can expire, and so requires entities to “flex” or “recalibrate” their boundaries constantly to maintain it.
Recalibration process is costly in terms of time and effort — sacrifices — on your part as a manager, consultant or owner of an organization, but it bears fruits. High efficiency – reduced costs, increased profitability and peak engagement – is a fruit of synergy.
Efficiency is achievable in organizations, despite lack of synergy approach, because synergy exists to a limited degree. Interdependence is the most predominant form, which enables efficiency, but successful assimilation of synergy can lead to optimal results.
But what are the ingredients you require to embed the synergy process successfully in your organization?
Well, that’s what this article’s all about. Let’s have a look at five of them.
The Definition of the Purpose That Relates to Organization’s Vision
Synergy assimilation process isn’t a chance occurrence. It’s something that has a purpose, and it’s up to you to define that purpose. Your dreams, aspirations, goals, objectives or visions inform your strategy, and synergy assimilation depends on how you define them. However, for your dreams to come to reality, you must follow your strategic focus or direction.
To realize your dreams, you require assistance — no man’s an island. The synergy method can enable you to create a new organizational reality with the help of others. For example, if your strategy is to improve customer experience, you require the support of your organization’s units, departments or individuals.
Creation of Commitment
Lots of sacrifices go into synergy creation and maintenance — you must be committed to the synergy approach. Your employees, or those under you, must be committed, too. The higher you climb the hierarchy, the more important synergy is. And so as an administrator, and someone who’s a managerial authority, your level of commitment should be the highest — unmatched by your subordinates. Synergy between you and your fellow managers or administrators must occur to the highest degree.
But why’s that the case?
Everyone below you looks up to you as a final decision-maker and problem-solver — you are their role model; you must inspire and motivate your workers. This is a food for thought if you are at the topmost hierarchical level – CEO, owner or chairperson. Even if you’ve delegated your managerial authority to someone below you – or someone below the “pyramidal apex” – you must pledge active support for the synergy approach and your involvement.
Definition and Agreement on Boundaries
It’s important to define boundaries, but to embed synergy successfully, they must be clear, too. Your departments, employees, partners, members, etc., require defined and clear boundaries. You must agree mutually on boundary definition, otherwise it’d become unclear. It can be almost impossible to create synergy if boundaries are unclear.
Dr. Ben-Yshai posits that if the perceived level of boundary unclearness exceeds 7 per cent, or there’s no mutual consensus on boundary definition, it can be very difficult to improve the quality of interactions, putting synergy formation in great danger.
Acknowledgement of the Existence of Diversity and Mutual Respect
Diversity is a necessary precondition for synergy — it occurs by default. It characterizes postmodern organizations, just as you have to deal with fast-paced and frequent changes, ego, competition, and so forth. It’s an inevitability.
Hence, acknowledging its existence is an important first step in cultivating mutual respect, understanding and tolerance. As a manager, to manage diversity successfully, you must learn its source, scope and characteristics. The issues of whether diversity exists out of the question – it isn’t debatable.
What’s important is that you acknowledge the “rationales” of others. The context of understanding and tolerating other people’s rationales can be seen in situations where learning about one another in the workplace or team occur. Learning about one another can increase tolerance, which can be salient in synergy formation. This enables you to view diversity as a challenge – not a threat.
The Case of Hadassah Women’s Organization
This a perfect example that demonstrates how culturally different groups interact. One volunteer group was English-speaking and the other Hebrew-speaking. Synergy Center arranged for a joint workshop for both members in the respective regions, but they run the two groups at the same in main cities.
And because the workshop facilitator was an Israeli, the Hebrew speakers identified with him more than the other group. To bring about equality, Dr. Ben-Yshai solicited for joint hosting with the organization’s vice president from the United States.
The joint hosts divided the participants into two groups during the first half of the workshop. Culture formed the basis of the division. The VP facilitated the English speakers, and Dr. Ben-Yshai facilitated the Hebrew speakers. The facilitators administered three same questions to each group:
- How would you describe a successful year?
- What are your strengths and weaknesses?
- What would you consider to be the strengths and weaknesses of the other group?
The second session of the workshop was an occasion to present answers to the questions. Its intent was to initiate diversity and to observe how its aspects supplement each other when both groups work jointly to create a successful project based on their respective strengths. Dr. Ben-Yshai write a skit, which required performance of both groups, to demonstrate the formation of synergistic cooperation.
Synergy’s About Chemistry. Is That so?
Contrary to what you might have thought, interpersonal chemistry isn’t a precondition for synergy formation. This isn’t to say that chemistry isn’t necessary for synergy creation; in fact, good chemistry can make it easier for synergy to form. It isn’t necessary to be in sync with other people to reach synergy with them.
You can attain synergy with people you view as competitors or rivals. However, for synergy to form, there must be a mutual understanding between you and your competitors. An understanding that synergy creation is more important than our diversity and lack of chemistry between us.
Healthy competition or cooperation is a product of putting synergy method into practice. It won’t matter whether someone is different from you, or their view actively conflicts with yours. For cooperation or healthy cooperation to happen, it’s important to consider the dimension in which it occurs. An enabling and inclusion dimension goes hand in hand with interpersonal chemistry. Coercion involves enforcement.
If each of your employees can come to a point in which they can be aware of the benefits of a new reality and how it’d affect them, then that’s an important objective. It’s not an ordinary point – it’s a turning point, because employees abandon their habitual behavior for the sake of synergy formation. For example, in parliaments, we see situations in which members across the political divide cooperate together to pass laws. There’s no political chemistry between them, neither is interpersonal chemistry.
These situations are usually rare, but if they do occur most frequently, or always, imagine what can be achieved. In addition, warring parties don’t need to have chemistry to reach a peace agreement. Usually, it’s that difficult to achieve ceasefire, and we can assume that it can be significantly easier to achieve it in an organization, or between organizations.
In Israel, there are numerous parties and coalitions, and each has a different ideology. Surprisingly, legislators can unite toward a shared strategic vision, passing social laws, despite their intense rivalry. Whatever your perception of cynicism, the unity of purpose could be real. In synergistic terms, the piece of legislation is a new reality; it’s a product of integration of conflicting entities, although they share a vision. However, synergy is a like a bubble – it can burst; hence, it can’t last long if entities don’t commit themselves to maintain it.
If rival forces lack the commitment to maintain it. There are several ingredients necessary for synergy to occur, but chemistry isn’t among them. Chemistry only serves to strengthen it. A clearly defined purpose and boundary, commitment and acknowledgment of diversity are important recipes for synergy to happen
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