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What is Synergy?

In essence, synergy is when the sum of the parts creates something that is beyond what the parts could do individually. Clydesdale horses are a wonderful example of this. One Clydesdale horse can pull two thousand pounds by itself. If you add another Clydesdale to the effort it would be easy to think that now the pair could pull four thousand pounds. But in reality, two of these magnificent horses together can pull TEN thousand pounds!

This is the effect of synergy. The key to this is recognizing that the relationship between the two parts is actually a part of the equation. David Goggins in his book “Can’t Hurt Me” talks about how people in general will stop at about 40% of their maximum effort when doing something. It is at this point that it becomes hard enough that our minds begin to win and our body gives in. Having a coach or a workout buddy push you further is an snapshot of why synergy works.

A Clydesdale horse can likely pull much more than two thousand pounds on it’s own, from a physical capacity standpoint, but doesn’t…until it has the connection to another horse in the effort.

“When Properly Understood, Synergy is the Highest Activity in Life”

Stephen Covey said this and it is extremely applicable when it comes to organizations. When you can get people in an organization working together synergistically, magic can happen. And it makes perfect sense when you think of it in basic fundamentals. Take two people who are working together, have a high trust relationship, and are each working in their strength zone which complements the other’s strength zone, and are committed to an excellent outcome.

You are going to get a substantially better result than having each person work independently. Every time.

The key to creating this kind of synergy comes down to trust and communication. This is something that needs to start with the leadership, and then be modeled, trained, and systemically supported all the way through an organization.

When you have two parties who are operating with high trust, then you are functioning at the highest level of credibility between two people. This will lead to the environment of highest cooperation and productivity.

What to Work on to Bring This to Life in Your Culture…

There are many things you can do to foster this in your culture. I’m just going to give you a quick handful that you can address immediately that can help to make a difference.

Interpersonal Communication– This must be trained in all organizations. It is the number one area of weakness across the board. Help people become better at this vital core competency and they will be more effective with other people, become more confident, be better in their work, and naturally become a better contributor to the greater good.

Recognition and Praise– These are two different things that lead to the same place. People feeling valued for their efforts. The more people feel like what they do gets noticed, the more they will do. Easy one to understand, but not as easy to implement culturally.

Feedback Loops– For everything. You can also refer to this as voice. Essentially there needs to be mechanisms in place where everyone can be heard and share up, down, and sideways, and have a belief that this is important and acknowledged.

Trust Fundamentals– Most people have no idea how easy it is to break trust, nor do they readily know how to build it in an organizational culture. Some deep training/discussion on this topic, brings the awareness that begins to change the understanding and build the culture. The more trust, the more synergy.

People Development-This goes into the next layer of core competencies. Finding, developing, and utilizing strengths, in addition to learning personal productivity skills, and team skills will have a multiplier effect on synergy, because when people feel better they do better, and when they do better, they feel better, and overall everyone does better. This removes scarcity and fosters unity.

This gives you some things that are immediately actionable. Here is a short video to give you a glimpse of where you want to get to from a trust perspective. Please share if you feel this was helpful.


If you need some Coaching, or Training for your organization, reach out to me.

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Many Blessings, Todd

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