I recently met an HR Senior Manager of an established Corporation who told me about his company’s troubles dealing with Synergy. He explained that some of the units don’t work effectively together, people blame each other for problems that arise and not take initiative to solve them, low responsibility and accountability of work, people working individually and not being team players. He shared that it has resulted in an unhealthy working environment and an inefficient work within the division.

Team Synergy is a very common problem in the corporate world. Whether it’s a fortune 500 company or a local business, as long as humans are running the business – not robots, there’s going to be human relationship problems running in the business. Teamwork problems are inevitable because every individual that comprises a team has different ways of doing one thing. Many people don’t realize that teamwork is more than just working together to get things done, but more importantly it is about achieving results that are much greater than the sum of each person’s contributions.

Team Synergy problems are caused by human discrepancy such as difference in individual priorities, talents, interests, ego, habits, strengths, weaknesses etc; ineffective communication; poor management/coordination/strategy; poor leadership and followership; individuals not playing as team players; or people simply not pulling their own weights. The by-product of team synergy problems in essence is low productivity; miscoordination, inefficiency, overlap or gap of work, individuals not performing at their best, lack of responsibility and accountability, people not mindful about holistic process, people blaming people, etc.

A Team Peak performance can be achieved if every team member knows their roles and responsibilities, takes upon themselves what is their share of the load, works at their best and furthermore collaboratively sees the whole process through to completion. Superbowl champions don’t become champions because the Quarterback single-handedly rushes the football for each touchdown – it takes the whole team’s effort.
I’d like to share with you the basic fundamentals in creating a positive Synergy:

Company Vision, Mission Statement, Core Values, Goals & Targets.
Begin with the end in mind. Give your People a sense of purpose as to why they come to work everyday and contribute to the company. Goals work as a motor for motivation, however a shared goal needs to be matched with clear roles, by putting the right people at the right time and at the right place. When each team member has clear roles and responsibilities of their own and others’, the risk of overlap or gap of work can be reduced significantly. Goals will also create challenge. A team that has dealt with a trying situation and come out successful together will typically have a stronger relationship. Review Review Review. Whether your team has or has not done well together, always review where you did right and wrong – and improve!

Can someone lead if no one follows? Leadership is intertwined with followership. Most times we only talk about the importance of good Leadership, but there’s not enough emphasis in good followership. In order to create a good team synergy, good leaders and followers must co-exist. In our training programs, there’s an exercise in which a group of 12 people, as a team, they have to solve a strategy problem in a given time. If they fail the first time, they get another try in a given time, with two of the member’s eyes blindfolded. If they fail the second time, they get another chance in a given time, however with two other member’s mouths closed. Participants are typically able to solve the problem in 3 tries, with each try completed in much less time than prior, even after taking handicap factors into consideration. One of the most valuable and most common insights of this exercise is about leading and following. When less people try to lead and actually be good followers, willing to be led and listen to and cooperate with others, the task at hand can be completed much more efficiently and effectively.

When every individual works and communicates with the basis of trust, respect and compassion, everyone will feel that their contribution is as valuable as the next person – and vice versa, and therefore each person will give their best work for the Team. A compassionate individual will be conscious of the impact of their action on others. In result, everyone will pull their own weights, and collaboratively reach Synergy. In all of our Team Development programs, we begin the course with Trust activities. Under the supervision of our Outward Bound instructors, every team member is challenged to put their own safety on other people’s hands – sometimes colleagues, sometimes friends, family members, but sometimes also complete strangers. In all cases, as the subject, he typically has hesitations, worries or even fears. However, once they each are able to overcome their fears and completely trust others for support, surely the team is set off on a great start. This exercise also exemplifies that in a trusting environment, the trustee and the trusted parties are both interdependent with one another. They both have the same responsibility to each other, no one is at a better or worse off situation than the other, one person’s success is the team’s success.

Like human relationships, Synergy is a constant process and must be managed. It’s not a destination that you arrive to and just halt, it’s a never ending journey that you and your team as the crew of a ship, embark upon together and must constantly row and work to reach it. Effective communication is key to creating and maintaining Team Synergy, and part of it is Conflict resolution. An effective Team is capable to resolve differences by finding and managing the best solutions from the team member’s contributions, despite differences of skills, opinions, strengths, weaknesses and talents. Managing and resolving human relationship conflicts clearly differs from fixing a broken machine. There’s no surefire formula to do it, it’s not as straightforward as 1+1 =2; in which, aside from knowledge and skills, it requires practice, experience, time, patience and commitment. In order for Synergy to thrive in a community, a positive Teamwork culture as foundation is paramount, where engagement of each team member is encouraged. Fine management is an important element to create order, nevertheless great human relationships are the key ingredient in creating harmony.

My best wishes in your Pursuit of Great SYNERGY in your Teams!



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