Tuesday, June 06, 2006


A colleague used the word synergy today and I've been thinking about it all day. Here's what Wikipedia says about synergy:

Synergy or synergism (from the Greek synergos meaning working together, circa 1660) refers to the phenomenon in which two or more discrete influences or agents acting together create an effect greater than the sum of the effects each is able to create independently. The opposite of synergy is antagonism, the phenomenon where two agents in combination have an overall effect which is less than the sum of their individual effects. Synergism stems from the 1657 theological doctrine that human will cooperates with divine grace in regeneration. The term began to be used in the broader, non-theological, sense by 1925. In the 1960s it was first used to describe supposed economies of scale in business, reappearing in the 1990s as a common business buzzword. Synergy can also mean:

* A mutually advantageous conjunction where the whole is greater than the sum of the parts.
* A dynamic state in which combined action is favored over the sum of individual component actions.
* Behavior of whole systems unpredicted by the behavior of their parts taken separately. More accurately known as emergent behavior[

Maybe this is what I have meant when I talked about being more creative when I work with colleagues that I like and respect. I like the phrase "mutually advantageous conjunction" I hope when I work with my friends and colleagues that we both realize value from our collaboration - and it always seems to me that we do better work together than alone - or at least when I work alone.

I experienced synergy today - I had to write my Editor's Comments for the NABTE Review. I have struggled with it for days but today I finally sat down and pushed out 500 words. I was not happy at all with what I had written. I asked a colleague - someone I respect a great deal - to read what I had written and to be brutally frank. She was brutally frank!!! But we discussed what I thought I wanted to write and she pointed out what I did write - in her own unique way she allowed me to create something that I actually do like. Her input clearly raised my bar - the sum was more than its parts. So I can only imagine what the 'mutually advantageous' part was for her but as far as I am concerned she should take some satisfaction in knowing she made me better.


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