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Building the tallest paper building in Strategic Management

Synergy: the combined power of a group of things when they are working together that is greater than the total power achieved by each working separately.

I was never a big fan of teamwork. Being a naturally-inclined leader, I always felt that I could do things best on my own, and dismissed collaboration as a sign of weakness. In his book Success Intelligence, Robert Holden refers to this compulsive urge for self-sufficiency as the ‘By Myself Syndrome.’ According to Holden, “people who suffer from ‘By Myself Syndrome’ are lousy at asking for help. They are blind to opportunities for support. They are blocked by their inability to get past themselves.”

Irreverently refusing to embrace the truth behind this concept, I skipped the entire chapter in the book and rendered it irrelevant to me or my success. It wasn’t until a year and countless of burnouts later, that I finally decided to give up my ego and give in to teamwork. Having thrown myself into the heavily team-based MSc Management course at Imperial, I had the perfect chance to re-visit my rigid viewpoints. Although the transition from Me to Us was challenging at first, I was eventually awakened to the benefits of working in a team, and came to see teamwork as one of the most important aspects to success.

When individuals come together their unique perspectives merge, new dynamics are formed, and the team becomes an entity of its own, with a stronger and more nuanced perspective to approaching the task at hand. In my experience with teamwork so far, I’ve came up with the three most important factors to creating effective team synergy. It is this state of synergy that’s revered by so many inventors around the world, as the ultimate catalyst for success.

Diversity + Creativity + Focus = Team Synergy

Diversity: Coming from a different geography, educational background, and having been exposed to a distinctive set of life-experiences, affords each team member with a unique perspective to dealing with a situation. It is when these uniquely diverse experiences merge in the co-creative environment of a team, that the magic happens. Sharing their diverse perspectives, not only provides team members with a more nuanced analysis of a situation; it also allows them to expand on each others’ ideas to create something entirely new.

Creativity: Talent and creativity are two wholly different things. Unfortunately, the similarity of these two terms holds many people apart from their inherent creativity. When we perceive every thought we have and every action we take as creative, we realize that creativity is not a gift of the few, but an intrinsic quality of every single one of us. The key to unleashing team creativity is to, firstly, release our limiting beliefs and perceptions of what creativity should be like, and secondly, to establish a safe and encouraging environment for team members to test-drive their ideas, make mistakes, and think out of the box.

Focus: The metaphysical Law of Attraction states that “like attracts like.” This implies that the longer we focus our consciousness on a particular idea, the more that idea expands. In fact, Abraham-Hicks go on to suggest that “genius is just attention to something specific,” implying that by deliberately focusing our attention on a topic, we create a powerful momentum of attraction of people, knowledge and information, which allows us to evolve in its direction. With a focused attention on the task at hand, diversity and creativity can best be utilized to create a co-creative environment that breeds team synergy, and gives rise to innovative ideas for success.