the blog Synergy

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?

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