THE SYNERGY OF CHANGE
By Farrah Fauste, Wanda Hart, and
Larena Mitchell-Phillips (TNU 2007)
Synergy is two or more discrete influences acting together to create an
effect greater than that predicted by knowing only the separate effects
of the individual agents. Synergy acts as a profound influence during
change and change management. Synergy describes how two people or
multiple corporations working together can produce more than one.
Creating synergistic relationships provides a framework for managing the
people side of these changes. From a business perspective, synergistic
change may come in the form of a new business process, new technology,
or successful merger. While exploring assorted types of synergy, these
ideas will provide a clearer understanding of the effects of synergy and
change and how successful change requires more than just a new process,
but the engagement and participation of the people involved.
The Effects of Human
Interaction with Synergy and Change
Change is one of the inevitable occurrences in today’s corporate
environment. Creating effective teams that can thrive during change is
not optional. Successful teams should be part of the important
strategies that align progressive corporations. If enterprises want to
remain lucrative during times of change, they need to excel at
organizing people in ways that create synergy.
Synergy is a unique advantage or
power of collaboration among employees that work as teams. The effects
of human interaction with synergy and change necessitate several
requirements. According to Hersey, Blanchard, and Johnson, “Human
element deals with the willingness to achieve the common results; these
include self esteem, motivation, ambition, and self confidence of the
people to want to use their energy toward the shared goals (Hersey,
Blanchard, and Johnson 445).
To foster synergy within the
group, individual employees must have a particular blend of self-esteem,
motivation, ambition, and self-confidence. Hoopes confirms that, “A
resilient team combines individual resilience and synergy” (Hoopes 1).
Hoopes also notes that each member should emit five characteristics and,
“The level of synergy in the group determines how people use these
characteristics” (Hoopes 1). The synergy basis is on the premise of
these individual characteristics.
Positive (sees opportunities
for success, not failure)
Focused (sets and achieves goals)
Flexible (finds new and creative ways to approach situations)
Organized (manages ambiguity in a structured way)
Proactive (takes initiative and gets involved)
If individuals can set these five
pre-requisites into motion, synergy is sure to become a valuable tool.
To confront challenges,
organizations must generate synergistic relationships within teams.
Ludwick wrote, “In your personal work history, I will bet the most
rewarding times were the ones when you were working as part of an
empowered team” (Ludwick 1). He continues his concept of empowered teams
by adding, “For some period of time or for a particular project, the
work group clicked” (Ludwick 1). Shifting corporate mind-sets toward
arranging groups in ways that maximize synergy is paramount to
constructing work groups that “click.” Ludwick explains that when work
groups click, “That experience, which inspired you to want to go to work
each day, was “synergy in action” (Ludwick 2). Feasibly, Ludwick implies
The real question is whether
synergy is extendable over long periods of time, multiple projects,
and changes in the work team’s composition. The answer is that it is
possible, if the leader of the work group is committed to synergy
and will stay focused on it. Since synergy develops out of the
relationship among coworkers and relationships are fragile,
maintaining the relationships is the key to maintaining synergy in a
work group over time (Ludwick 2).
Synergistic teams have immense
opportunities over other teams that maximize performance and boost
To sanction team synergy,
cohesiveness of minds and resources needs to always fall under
consideration. Ludwick contends that, “Synergy occurs when the whole
exceeds the sum of the parts” (Ludwick 2). Synergy, then, is the
creation that arises when employees combine their original ideas toward
the team’s mission and as a result, something much more dynamic emerges.
Ludwick also believes there are two components of a synergistic team,
“diversity of talent and a unified commitment to the mission of the
group” (Ludwick 2). Ludwick emphasizes there are five steps involved in
moving relationship management toward creating synergy.
1) Become the model for valuing
the other point of view
2) Talk frequently about the organizational value of different points of
3) Never discuss a process problem without all the people involved.
4) Make sure cohesion exists in communication
5) Include tolerance of other viewpoints in performance evaluations
Hoopes comments that, “Personal
resilience amplified through synergy yields maximum team resilience and
business success” (Hoopes 2). Teams that have the ability to work
together synergistically have the ability to create a conceivably more
Synergy in Corporate Change
In today’s world of fast paced,
quick-click, instant gratification, a company must remain alert to signs
of change. The fact that a company is a success today is no guarantee
that will be the case tomorrow. Usually by the time a company realizes
there is trouble, it is too late. The goal of a company in today’s world
is to remain competitive and strong. In order to do that, a company must
know how to and be ready to manage change. Prosci wrote, “The goal of
building the competency to manage change is to give individuals the
perspective, authority and skills they need to support the many
different changes they will face.” Corporations must understand why and
how to build worker competency to manage change.
There are many reasons why change happens in a
corporation. Change might be cultural. It might be new technology. The
corporation might have to reinvent itself because of competition from
the internet. A redesign might be necessary due to the rapid
obsolescence of certain types of products. Organizations cannot afford
to lose the competitive advantage or the costs associated with failed
change. Prosci theorized that, “Improving how your organization manages
change will directly impact the success of each of the initiatives
underway and those planned for the future.”
Communication is a very important aspect in
any corporate change. There are numerous forms of communication today
for utilization in keeping everyone in the company informed. Usually the
first step in communication is to explain the reason for the change. The
rationale and benefits should be one of the first forms of
communication. Corporate synergy during a change depends on liaisons to
keep communication flowing between all levels of employees. Employees
must be committed to the change. Tracking of the goals for the change is
essential. Suggestions by Breen, Shill, and Nunes for the process of
change include: foster continuous renewal as part of everyday
operations, generate confidence through development of comprehensive
market sensing, carefully evolve top management teams, and use
leading-edge tools and techniques to sense and respond to change
barriers and opportunities.
Expectations are different for each individual
included in change. There are fundamental needs, such as inclusion and
openness, to consider regardless of the type of change. Change often
involves a loss and people will have to go through the change curve.
Expectations for employees during the change must be realistic.
People’s fears are an important part of
dealing with change. The article, “Change Management, Five Basic
Principles,” states that corporations must deal with staff’s fears.
People fear the worst. Fears about losing a job, paying the mortgage,
the family’s welfare, and disgrace are all areas of distress. Rational
thought is not usually the norm during the stress of change.
To manage change, the organization must
communicate effectively, create a team, set goals, and assign tasks. The
people involved must be committed to the change. There must be a
constant willingness to learn, develop new skills, and change as needed.
Hersey, Blanchard, and Johnson define the results of effective corporate
change as shared meaning. They write, “Effective leaders create a
compelling vision of what the final state can look like, feel like, and
be like. A strong and compelling vision will create a shared meaning,
generate energy, and guide the way—help the organization make the right
choices toward the future desired state and help create peak
Breen, Tim, Walter E. Shill, and Paul F. Nunes.
Ahead of the Curve.”
“Change Management Five basic principles, and
how to apply them.”
Dreikorn, Michael J. The Synergy of One.
Quality Press, Milwaukie, WS, 2004.
Hersey, Paul, Kenneth H. Blanchard, and Dewey
E. Johnson. Management of
Organizational Behavior. Eighth Edition. New Jersey: Prentice Hall,
Hoopes, Linda. Team Resilience.
Ludwick, Paul. Manage the Relationships and
the Team Will Manage the Work.
Prosci 1996-2006, “The need for Enterprise
Change Management (ECM) – or –Why
build the competency to manage change.” Loveland, CO.