Synergy is a principle. It’s a law and fact. It’s as true as mathematics, gravity or evolution. Whether one believes or obeys it or not, it still operates regardless. It is found in all of nature: creative cooperation, working together, “the whole is greater than the sum of its parts”

Although easier to reference or accept in nature, medicine and other fields, I sense doubt about it in human or corporation environments.

Here are some points for consideration:

1. For synergy to occur in organisations (corporations), they need to have a common purpose or objective. Likewise, teams and departments should have their own objectives that fit into the overarching company mission.

2. No doubt this requires leadership, and a certain style that brings out the best in people, and for people to work “synergistic”. This is true even in mergers. The right kind of leadership is required. One which encourages people to maximise their strengths and minimise their weaknesses. Not enough can be emphasized about great leadership (which is a discussion on its own).

3. The right people are key for synergy to occur. People are not our greatest assest, the right people are (Jim Collins). People can be our greatest liability. Right people in right jobs are key. “The role of leadership should be to 1. get the right people on the bus, 2. get the wrong people of the bus, 3. get the right people on the right seats on the bus, 4. and the bus can take you to somewhere great”

4. The right people are not those with just “competence”. Often we hire on competence and fire people on “fit”. Behaviour, values and character are key.

5. Synergy in human and corporations areas require that people move from “dependence to independence to interdependence” (Stephen Covey). If people are dependent, “you” take care of me/ show me what to do/ take care of my emotional instability – synergy cannot occur. The transition needs to be independence – competence, character and being “self managed” – being able to carry your own for that specific requirement, task or project. You can lead and manage and produce. And still, if you cannot work as a we outfit “interdependence” – realising that open communication, collaboration, willingness to subordinate personal agendas for the greater good, not talking in defense and either/ or, but being empathic, considerate and open to a new alternatives – synergy cannot occur. Interdependence in a team is no guarantee that synergy happens.

6. Synergy happens when minds and hearts are right to a worthy cause. If we are willing to leave our egos at the door and not worry who takes the credit, we’re likely to get there. Because, we dealing with humans – its easy to despair and not believe that people have this potential. We are inclined to think that people are selfish, and want only what’s in it for them. Leadership is key.

7. The whole can be greater than the sum of its parts. 1+1 can equal to 3, 5 or 100. A team of 9 soccer plays can beat a team of 11. A department with 5 staff can outperform another department with 15 doing the same job. How is that so? Working together, we can achieve far more than if we tried to do so by ourselves.

8. No person is an island. Sometimes I tempted to think I am an independent person, thinker, worker, consultant etc. If I look closely around me at the key relationships I share with others: my outstanding assistant (wife), my web guy, my key networks and colleagues, my associations, my mentors (even those in social media, some here) – I come to realise that I would never achieve the results/ outcomes/ outputs I do if it was it not for them.


Anil Salick

Anil Salick

Strategist, Facilitator, Coach, Writer. Shares about inspiration, leadership, critical thinking, fun, sports and current events.