When I think of synergy I think of fireworks. I think it's because when there is synergy between people working together, there is a building up of energy, forward momentum, and the people working together begin to spark off of each other. Ideas are offered, analyzed, built upon, tweaked, morphed into other ideas. Synergy sounds like energy. Synergy is the best possible result of working together. Synergy gets things done. I love thinking of synergizing as a habit. I've experienced synergy before, but I always thought it happened by chance - by having the right people in the right place at the right time. Thinking about it as a habit is interesting. I guess the way you create synergy - the way you practice it- is to harness all of the positive effects of practicing the other habits we have learned in order to set up the best possible conditions in which synergy can happen. If I am proactive, I begin with the end in mind, I think win-win, I seek to understand before seeking to be understood . . . then hopefully I will find myself in rooms with people who understand what needs to be accomplished and who bring energy into wanting to work together toward that common goal. Achieving synergy won't always be easy or natural, but definitely possible, and ultimately desirable. I don't really see how synergy can consistently happen when working with people unless those other habits are in place as well. It is a powerful habit to cultivate though.
I have experienced synergy, and it is very palpable. People in the room know when synergy is present and building. I have a colleague, Vicki, who is actually my partner as an online and blended learning resource teacher, and we have developed a consistent synergistic relationship. Our best synergy comes forth when we are passionate about something. That is usually when we are working on curriculum ideas that involve integrating the study of literature and history. We have had some planning sessions where we were both on fire with cool ideas, and that is an amazingly energizing feeling. In our other role we have to work together even more closely. Some days when we are both on our game we find easy synergy, and other times we have to work harder to "get" each other. The very things that create amazing synergy (our different perspectives, strengths, and personal styles) can also trip us up as we try to see the way the other person sees something. Sometimes it requires more work and energy. But the bottom line is that we have committed to working together, and that makes it a done deal, as either way, easy work or hard work, the work is going to get done. So the commitment to work together is also what cultivates the conditions for synergy. At our school site we are embarking on our WASC self-study process, and it will be "all hands on deck" as we work, as an entire staff, to study our school's practice and culture and write that report together. We will rely on synergy. We better make sure those other habits are in place too!
I'm excited to share the habit of synergy with my boys. There are so many applications for this in their lives. They will see opportunities to synergize within our family, in their relationships and projects at school, in our neighborhood and community... and I think they see pretty constant synergy in the various ways the adults in their lives work together to orchestrate this thing we call Life. It takes a village... and one look at the carpool schedule for our neighborhood will reveal synergy that benefits many in our village!