It's strange the kind of unwarranted stigma this word has collected over the years, possibly due to upper corporate management abusing it, but the word is powerful and meaningful in many way beyond a work environment. That word is 'Synergy.' The feel most people get from that word is how they aren't a team player or some unknowable meaning their boss wants them to understand, but the idea is quite simple:
The whole is greater than the sum of it's parts.
To steal a line from Steven Covey's book, 1 + 1 = 3. This isn't bad math, it's a symbol of how effective two or more people are when they work together as opposed to two or more people working separately toward the same goal. If you were to measure the speed of two row boats, each with one person and one oar, you would find together they are slower than one row boat with two people and two oars. The real gold in Synergy, however, is when this is applied to creative efforts. Two comedians are far funnier together than separate.
In physical endeavors, this is very obvious. If you've never watched a crew of builders that have been together for a long time, I hope you should come across such a scenario. They tend to play off each other's strengths and get out of the way when they know they're a liability. The Plumber does not reinforce wood struts any more than the electrician pours a foundation. They work all at once in their given fields and the results are truly beautiful and rarely slow with a good contractor directing them like a conductor of a symphony. Go watch Holmes on Homes and you will see team work at it's finest in every episode.
The mental application of Synergy is tricky, but works in much the same way as the physical. More so, however, creative efforts require than each player understand each other, know each other, and are sure enough of their own self to be unafraid of sending out wrong ideas. In committees, you will find most people try to compete, rather than think Win-Win. It becomes a personal struggle to see who's idea is supreme; This is not good synergy. Good committees collect, combine, and weed out ideas as a whole, thinking about the best solution available and not if that solution is theirs or otherwise. This is why there are corporate retreats and vacations to build trust between players of a meeting. The idea is the more each player knows and understands the other players the more in tune the symphony will be.
As if in reflection of itself, good synergy also tends to ring true when all the previous habits work in concert. The person finds the whole of his self is greater than his individual efforts. I'm fond of saying “We are made of our choices.” I think this applies.
Alright, last habit on Friday. Peach Ouch.