Stephen Covey (7 Habits of Highly Effective People) talks a lot about synergy. It’s a word that sounds so ‘buzzword bingo’ that people are afraid to use it when trying to work out how best to work as a team, and this is a real shame. If individuals in a team, especially if peers (say, managers working together on a business plan, or scenario planning, can find a way to agree to celebrate their individual skills, and approach shared problems in a ‘thank you, I couldn’t do it this well alone’ mindset, the creative juices start to flow and the results are (always, in my experience), amazing. There is great potential in working with each other’s strengths to create a result that is only possible if you channel the differences, the unique problem solving responses. Too often, people bring fear and protectionist thinking “my team, my reputation, my budget etc.” and the goal seems to be solely to ‘prove my way is better’, talk louder to make sure my point is put across most strongly and demonstrate what I am capable of.
In changing times, (and let’s face it, in this economy, at this time, I doubt there’s a single working person who isn’t experience an unprecedented amount of change in their workplace), we should call upon the experiences, insights, worries, skills and simple ideas of everyone we know, supporting each other to create a ‘middle way’ – not a compromised position, but a high point – like the seat on a stool, where the individuals are the legs, providing a unique core of strength and a wide spread of knowledge.
Yes, it sounds clichéd, but if you can find away to trust your co-workers to pick up where you don’t excel, and in return, generously give of your strength to make magic out of their weak spots, you will both come away looking, feeling, and performing a class apart from the individuals who think they’ve got it all.