by  David Greer  |  Team Dynamics

One definition of synergy is the cooperation of two or more people to create something greater than the sum of the individuals.

That’s what I think Lead Change Group is all about – creating something bigger than what any one of us can do on our own.

In a recent article, Becky Robinson of Weaving Influence asked How Can A Leader Of A Virtual Team Express Servant Leadership?

In the post, Becky highlights being available, encouraging her team, and creating opportunities. While these are all powerful ways to be a leader, I think the best synergy, and thus leadership, is created when we are challenged to grow outside our comfort zone.

My most powerful growth as a leader has been when I have been challenged to do something that I know I can never do. With the help of others, again there is that notion of synergy, I have been able to push through challenges that baffled me.

People that I have mentored tell me that over and over again I asked them to do things that in their heart of hearts they could never do. Every time, they found a way to do what it was that they thought they could not do. It was my belief combined with my connection to these people that let them overcome their fears and move into their next challenge.

Practical Ways To Create Synergy

What are the practical ways that you can create synergy in your community? Here are a few ideas:

  • Connect – There is a leadership maxim – connect, then forward. Until there is trust between two people, there is no chance for synergy or growth. You have to put the in the time and effort to a relationship so that you can connect. What are you doing today to connect to those you lead?
  • Shared Vision – As Jim Collins tells us in his book Good To Great,getting everyone on a team pushing in the same direction is how we overcome challenges. He compares it to pushing a flywheel. For a long time nothing happens, but when sustained effort is made in the same direction, the flywheel eventually breaks free. There is deep connection in having everyone pushing together towards the same vision.
  • Challenges – Life is full of challenges. Helping someone overcome his or her challenge or working together to rise to a great challenge creates fabulous synergy and connection.
  • Control – Put you and your team in a situation where you are not in control. One of the reasons I love sailing, especially across oceans, is that all you have is your boat and the people with you. Everything depends on you creating synergy together to overcome whatever comes up. While you might not want to go to this extreme, find ways to take those you lead into situations where you have to work together as a team in order to respond to circumstances beyond your control.

In work and in life we create something magical when we are challenged to work together. When people are growing together, there is indeed synergy creating something special and much greater than the individuals involved.

Have you stepped outside your comfort zone? What was the result?
Photo Credit: David Greer

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What People Are Saying

John Smith  |  03 Apr 2015  |  Reply

Hi, David -great post:)

I was immediately reminded of an insight I received yesterday in a coaching class. We were put into teams and challenged to create a teaching moment for the entire class on the use and value of planning questions in the coaching process we are learning. No rules or structure – we were free to use whatever means we wanted as a team to get across the points. We had 30 minutes to work together online to do this.

I work solo most of the time and am usually in a leadership role with teams when I am on one. I also like to take my time and perfect whatever presentation I am giving – although I can wing it, I prefer to have all my ducks in neat rows for comfort.

In the team interaction, I had no choice but to move quickly, go with the flow, and things worked nicely. Here are some quick learnings from our effort:

1) I am not the only person in the world who can create an interactive and visually appealing PowerPoint presentation.
2) When everyone contributes, the end results may not look like any one person’s contribution, but it embodies all our thinking.
3) A team can produce as well (or maybe even better) than I can on my own.

Synergy is one of those words that sometimes sounds like New Age Babblespeak, but when you experience the power of working together in a group to accomplish a goal, it becomes a goal for every interaction.

Thanks again for your thoughtful reinforcement of the power of synergy for us all.


Page Cole  |  03 Apr 2015  |  Reply

Wow, what an encouraging post! I love the concept of synergy… I have done more, grown more, changed more and invested more in others as a part of a team that challenged me, stretched and encouraged me!

I would offer that the same underlying principle must exist in each of the four ways you suggested to create synergy (connect, shared vision, challenges & control)… that principle is vulnerability. I think for synergy to take place, we have to be willing to be vulnerable to those we partner with- transparent and open to input, challenges and yes, even criticism.

Thanks for the post!

Jane Anderson  |  03 Apr 2015  |  Reply

Every time I see the word synergy, I think of community working together in a synchronized pattern. The pattern is created from the moving pieces in the practical ways you suggest. Connect…Shared vision…Challenges…Control.

I’ve been away from a corporate job now for over 18 months and what I miss the most is team work. I miss all the things wrapped up in the magic of synergy.

David Greer  |  08 Apr 2015  |  Reply


Thanks for sharing your experience. It is amazing what the collective wisdom can come up with. As you saw, it takes hard work to step out of the way to let everyone participate. And when you do magic happens.

David Greer  |  08 Apr 2015  |  Reply


Thanks for your comment.

To me, the opposite side of vulnerability is trust. In order to build trust with someone we have to be willing to be vulnerable with them first. Which is why the connection piece is so important.

David Greer  |  08 Apr 2015  |  Reply


I get a feeling of Synergy from your posts and shared experiences. You reach out to us as a group to encourage us by being brutally honest about what is going on for you and how you are overcoming your challenges.

Thanks for that.

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