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by Craig A. Stevens, his students, and other professionals.

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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 that:


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 profits.


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 view
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 forceful output.


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 performance” (446).

Works Cited

Breen, Tim, Walter E. Shill, and Paul F. Nunes. “Transformation: Changing
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, 2001.

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.



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