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Synergy Empowers
By: Kevin Smith

Synchronized-energies is what synergy is.  This compound word synergy comes from combining the words synchronize and energy.  It describes the results of working together as being more powerful than individuals working on their own.  Even if those individual efforts were to be added together, the synergized results would be greater than the sum of those separate efforts.  Consider threads and ropes.  A given single thread strand that can support 2 kilograms of tension on its own, when combined with 2 other similar threads (totaling 3 strands of thread), does not just support 6 kilograms (which is the sum of the separate amounts).  The 3 threads, when twisted and interacting together, when synchronizing, actually support 15 kilograms or more. 

The interaction—synergy—between the threads enables more fibers within each thread maximize their strength.  Not only is the single thread itself providing strength, but the contact of the other threads is also adding strength.  The results are greater than the sum of the separate parts. This means bringing our talents, skills, personalities, knowledge, wisdom, ideas and energies to work together with each other, not alone or in competition against, but aligned and in sync in order to be more effective than working separately.

To be sure, this is easier said than done.  Many companies do not really try to achieve synergy.  They are content to simply focus on outward obedience in efforts to cope with chaos.  They resort to an expensive and inefficient military-like and obedience-only oriented system of management.  This is attempted control by threat or other undermining and weakening mechanisms.  You can easily recognize these kinds of organizations.  They will not bother with real and regular teaching, coaching or personal development programs, philosophies or behaviors; rather, they focus on blame, policing oriented policies, outward controls of punishment and reward, outward following of orders and somehow limiting people in some way.  While they try to limit the chaos and obtain success, they don’t, in fact they do worse—far worse.  Along with chaos they also limit pure inner growth, real strength, the power of creativity and all of the lasting drivers of profit and empowerment.

This kind of system gains control over people’s actions, but does not tap into the power of their minds or hearts, nor does it attract people with powerful minds and hearts.  This kind of system is where people are not encouraged or rewarded to be proactive.  The focus is on regulation without alignment or real purpose.  It creates a culture of internally damaging shortsighted politics.

This rules-without-reason style, although perhaps at times, better than chaos, is not effective and not for future success in China--or anywhere.  In today’s world running a business with rules-without-reason management has proven obsolete.  It does not maximize the minds or the hearts of the people; it only gets some of the energy from their weakened being. 

This is not to say that obedience is not important.  To the contrary, obedience and alignment is essential.  However, we never want ignorant, apathetic or cynical obedience.  We must have intelligent, willing and desired obedience.  We need the only form or effective control…self-control.  Obedience is a means to our ends, not the end itself. 

Nike once popularized, “Just Do It.”  We believe that while getting busy is important, it is far more empowering to know why we’re doing it, how we’re doing it, and if “it” is indeed correct in the first place.  We believe that taking action, avoiding limbo and indecision are critical.  We also believe that to do so with our entire being is better than just putting our bodies in motion.

A lack of trust erodes synergy faster than anything else.  The opposite of to synergize is to disintegrate, to break down, to weaken through separation and to diminish by division.  The various ways in which we synergize and do not synergize are reflected in our attitudes and actions with each other each day. 


Consider your level of synergy with others:

• Name something that you do daily to generate trust and synergy?

• Name something that your key team can do daily to generate greater trust and synergy?

• Name something that your company can do daily to generate greater trust and synergy?

• How could you more effectively coordinating your time and energy with others?

        • How does first understanding before being understood promote synergy? 

Synergy depends on honesty and loyalty, not only when our friends, family and associates know about what we’re doing and saying, but also when nobody is watching or listening, when we’re alone.  Synergy depends on our willingness to go the extra mile to make a customer delighted.  It depends on the way we treat each other.  Simply being kind, doing something nice for someone each day and smiling from time-to-time has incredible synergistic power. 

If our financial or other gains come at the direct expense of others, through misuse, abuse or by taking advantage of a chance to get away with doing something wrong, we’re not all stronger, we’re divided and weaker.  It is not empowering or synergistic to strengthen us at the expense of others.  It not only weakens them, but us too, by eroding our own integrity, forming dishonest patterns and habits and numbing our conscience to bad thinking and behaving.

Communication Deeply Impact Synergy

We have associates, customers, offices and people we must be in touch with all over the China and the world.  We are never all together in the same place at the same time.  This makes email, phone calls, faxes and all kinds of electronic communication vitally important.  It means the time we spend face-to-face is more important.  We see each other less, talk less and therefore are more vulnerable to having less synergy.  Staying in touch face-to-face, on the phone and with email to maintain thorough awareness is a key factor in our success.

Emails are a big part of our daily and overall communications.  They do not replace the need to have face-to-face personal contact they support it.  If used effectively, digital communication improves everything we do.  If not used effectively, if it’s used to replace or avoid personal contact, effective face-to-face meetings that should take place, then it weakens us.  Technology is a great tool, but a poor boss or coach.

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