the blog Synergy

Friday, July 29, 2005

Can't go wrong with Friedman's advice

Thomas L Friedman's address to the 2005 graduating class at Williams College is well worth reading.

It is a good commencement address. Not overly long, six major lessons, plenty of quoteable text.
The ability to learn how to learn is what enables you to adapt and stay special or specialized. Well then, a ninth grader in St. Paul asked me, how do you learn how to learn?

"Wow," I said to him, "that's a really good question." I told him that I think the best way to learn how to learn is to go around and ask all your friends who are the best teachers in your school and then just take their classes, whether it is Greek Mythology or physics. Because I think probably the best way to learn how to learn is to love learning.

Check it out the full text here.

What did you learn today? or this week?

Do you love to learn?

Thursday, July 28, 2005

Synergy in Print

Tuesday, July 26, 2005

Synergy in Motion

Sunday, July 24, 2005

The Third Alternative

There was something about Troy’s invitation I could not resist.

No predetermined outcome, “we’ll see where it goes from there.”

However a desire to be “bold” and “audacious,” and another for a “full-blown mission.”

But not alone. Kākou, inclusively. In the language of “we” from the very beginning, by means of a team called Synergy.

That’s quite a name to live up to.

As I can recall, I am pretty sure I first learned about synergy from Stephen R. Covey, author of the 7 Habits of Highly Effective People. Synergize is Covey’s 6th Habit, and he calls it “the Habit of Creative Cooperation.” This is an excerpt from his book, Living the 7 Habits, The Courage to Change:

Synergy is about producing a third alternative — not my way, not your way, but a third way that is better than either of us would come up with individually. It’s the fruit of mutual respect — of understanding and even celebrating one another’s differences in solving problems and seizing opportunities … synergistic teams thrive on individual strengths so that the whole becomes greater than the sum of the parts. Such team relationships renounce defensive adversarialism. They don’t settle on compromise or merely cooperation. They go for creative collaboration.

I have only met Troy and Steve virtually through their own blogs. The thought that we, with you, can effect an abundance of third alternatives is incredibly exciting to me. It is not just bold or audacious or innovative. It is a necessary step forward, and one with an incredible potential for rapidly building momentum.

There are no limits to the good which more creativity can release. The geographic boundaries of our world are melting away in the hands of our new forums of communication, and we are learning that our willingness to communicate is virtually all it takes.

Because we can effect creative collaboration with our pure willingness to do so, because we can have the courage to change, embracing the growth it can bring us, I think we should. Like Steve, I am hungry for it, and I am very happy to be here.

Saturday, July 23, 2005

Not just a circus act

Troy, this definition is a very good start for Synergy.
Cooperative interaction of two or more agents resulting in an enhanced effect greater than the sum of their individual capabilities.
The July issue of FastCompany magazine (now fully online) has an article on Cirque de Soleil.
Cirque creators say that innovation, for them, always begins with a story.
While we have starting point for defining Synergy, we will also need to develop our story. Perhaps we can start by telling some stories along the way?

The FastCompany article provides some background on Cirque de Soleil; how they grew from a group of street performers in Montreal to the entertainment business star that they are today. They are not just a circus act. Each show is developed around a story. This is one of their key differentiators. I am now eager to see the production now in development focused on the music of the Beatles. This should be a dynamite combination.

The circus holds fond memories for me. In my younger days, I did not get to go often but when I did go it was a special event. As a parent, taking my daughters, it was an even more special time to share the same delight with them. The performers on the trapeze were enthralling due to their upper body strength and coordination. To swing high above, let go, concentrate, and catch your partner all in a smooth and effortless looking flow drew our applause!

Each performer, as good as they were individually, was better performing as a team. A single jumping twisting tumbling stunt is wonderful but put two (or three) together and the ohs and ahs increased.

I found it interesting when FastCompany's Linda Tischler quoted Boris Verkhovsky:
His assignment is tricky: to turn athletes into artists. It's not an easy transition, he says. The artistic process requires spontaneity, imagination, and creative risk taking -- qualities that could get an elite athlete bounced off the team. "A lot of athletes come from an environment where they are literally told when to inhale and when to exhale," Verkhovsky says. "A side effect is that they're not very independent thinkers."

Besides teaching athletes how to unleash their inner thespians, Verkhovsky sometimes has to turn a class of raging divas into a cohesive band of brothers. To that end, he often prefers the also-ran to the medalist. "Somebody who almost made the team probably has the same repertoire of tricks, but is still hungry," he says. "The expectation of recognition is much less, so the prima donna syndrome is much lower."

The bold is for my emphasis. I can identify with this concept. I can come up with a few "almosts" that still drive me to do what I do or attempt to do today as an individual but every team I have been part of has been successful.

I like to be part of a team. When the group comes together and succeeds, it is a special feeling.

It is my pleasure to be part of Synergy.
I will not act like a clown.
I will toss you some questions.
I will challenge you to make us better.

Together we will succeed.
Together we will develop and tell our story.

I am hungry. Are you?

Wednesday, July 20, 2005

Synergy Defined

Working definition:

Cooperative interaction of two or more agents resulting in an enhanced effect greater than the sum of their individual capabilities.

Thanks to John at Success Begins Today and a little tweaking, Team Synergy is hitting the ground running with the above working definition of synergy. Please respond with suggestions for modifications, or if you think there is no need for modification, please let us know that as well.

I'd like to see Team Synergy use this definition as a launch pad to a full-blown mission statement.

Updated July 23.