“Synergy is the creation of a whole that is greater than the simple sum of its parts.” It seems the term synergy comes from multiple roots that all lead to the words “working together”.
When I work with leadership teams on strategy execution, we will try to quickly find the organization’s gaps and get to work on the stuff that needs to be addressed. Most often on the list… synergy. I like to call it the glue that holds it all together.
From our recent book “7 Elements of Strategy Execution”…
“So, your team members understand the strategy. They work with strong behaviors of accountability. They’re collaborative, innovative, energized and focused. Now what? Synergy is linking it all together. It’s ensuring teams and units have the right infrastructure and structures to get the job done. If the culture is right, execution gains momentum quickly. Synergy is the grease that enables the key elements to work together because, when they do, the power is much greater than the sum of the parts. “
OK, it seems I signed off on the word ‘grease’ back a few months ago, rather than ‘glue’, but the affect is the same. Synergy pulls all the parts together and helps them all move forward, cohesively.
Synergy, as we outline in the book, has numerous tentacles that should, or could, be addressed to align all the parts. Let me deal with one of them.
Before this transition to strategy execution much of the past 25 years of my career has been spent in the project management space. During that time, I was often asked to clarify the role of the project manager, to which I used two words on their own but interchangeably: the integrator and the conductor. The project manager’s job was to be the glue or the grease that keeps the momentum going, that allows all of the parts to work together. Like the orchestra conductor, all eyes are on her and she is the driver of the work. She keeps everyone marching to the same ‘tune’. The integrator connects the pieces allowing them to work as one with many separate parts.
Your strategic plan needs a conductor or integrator. Synergy must be driven by a single person – not necessarily the leader or CEO or Executive Director – but someone who can keep their eyes on the goal, the mission and the engine to be sure we keep up the momentum and that we are continuously moving in the right direction.
Call him, or her, a Project Manager, Program Manager, Chief Strategy Officer or whatever, but do your strategic plan a favour – get one and put them in charge.