According to the Oxford Dictionary, synergy is the interaction or cooperation of two or more organisations, substances, or other agents to produce a combined effect greater than the sum of their separate effects.
This means that you can get a better effect or greater result when you involve others. This is easier said than done as many people attempt to achieve their goals in an isolated way, relying on their own knowledge, experience, and expertise. Although a certain degree of success is achievable working on your own, that success will be limited because your time, energy, and capabilities are finite.
Developing the behaviours that favour synergy is an art and like all things, it is important to learn the techniques of an art to experience its benefits.
And just what are these behaviours to achieve synergy?
1. Combine the strengths of people
We all have unique capabilities. To benefit from synergy, use the capabilities of your colleagues to your advantage. Some of them will have knowledge, skills, and experiences that can bring a fresh perspective to your projects, highlight potential gaps and build on existing strengths. Create an environment where others feel comfortable contributing their ideas and know that their input is valued.
2. Ask for help when needed
This is a crucial aspect of synergy. People are generally helpful by nature, give them the benefit of the doubt that they can and want to help. Help is a win-win. You get the assistance you need and they feel good for being able to share their expertise. Many believe that asking for help displays a degree of ‘lack’ on their part but nothing could be further from the truth.
3. Accept help when it is offered
No superhero is a hero in isolation. Even superheroes depend on others. Many feel reluctant to accept help because of the implied obligation to the other person. In trying to avoid this situation, there is a tendency to resist help when offered. The key to overcoming this barrier when incorporating synergy is establishing clear boundaries and open communication on what you can provide in return.
4. Delegate where possible
Others may have a skill set you don’t and can accomplish the task in less time. It will also free your time to contribute in areas where you can offer greater value. Proper delegation is one of the fastest ways to get more done, in less time and benefit from synergy.
As with asking for help, there are various elements to consider to delegate effectively.
When seeking help or delegating…
A little goes a long way. No one likes to feel belittled. This may sound obvious but is not always shown in a world where goals are challenging and timelines are aggressive. Despite these constraints, there is always time to show others respect if healthy synergy is to be achieved.
Knowing what you need in advance will give you and the people you depend on, sufficient time to assist without unnecessary stress. In today’s world, we all have a lot on our plates. Most people are time-starved and living highly pressured lives. Being proactive with your requests ensures you give the other person the best possible chance to accomplish the outcome you want.
Clearly communicate the issue, the process, and the outcome
This ensures everyone knows what is required and can be corrected within milestone timelines. The clearer others are with your process and measurements of achieving what you want, the less room there will be for misunderstanding and errors. This creates an environment that supports synergy.
Follow up periodically
This avoids wasting someone else’s personal resources in the event of a misunderstanding of instructions. It also improves motivation as a sense of pride is felt knowing that the work being done continues to add traction to achieving the goal.
People are not only more likely to help but will not feel apprehensive if they need further clarification from you. It is human nature to gravitate to people we know, like, and trust. Are you the type of person others gravitate towards?
This helps you and others to adjust to changing demands. In our modern world, everything feels as if it is moving at warp speed; our thoughts, time, and technology. As a result, the goal post can shift, deadlines may require adjustment and priorities will need to change. Flexibility will be the key to continued success and leveraging the benefits of synergy through others.
Have realistic expectations
Everyone has things to accomplish that are important to them. Appreciate that your things may not always be a top priority for others. Practice patience. This one attribute can reduce unnecessary stress and disappointment on both sides.
Especially when delegating if you’re a manager. Ensure work is distributed as evenly as possible, so no one person is inundated with tasks while others are breezing through their day. This builds trust and reduces animosity amongst peers.
Want to know why you should use the power of synergy to get it all done? This video will help you discover how to leverage the capabilities of others so you get more done, in less time, using minimal effort and reduce your stress… all in one go!
Remember, when trying to achieve more, you don’t have to do it totally on your own. Adopting the mindset and behaviours to benefit from synergy e.g. asking for help and delegating, may sound simple but as with most things in life, practice is required to get it right.
… remember, stay curious and keep learning.
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The Institute for Achievement and Excellence ©