By Dr. Roberta Neault
The definition of “synergy” is that the whole is greater than the sum of its parts – in other words, the end result is better than what could have been produced even if the same individuals would have worked independently on the project. How can that be?
Recently, in one of my administrative roles, we’ve implemented a “crowd-sourcing” approach to designing/revising courses and programs. The results have been magical – bringing together a group of 3 – 10 contributors helps to quickly surface a variety of perspectives, get buy-in to the end result, and capitalize on diverse areas of expertise. As people share their ideas, group members build off each others’ contributions, new ideas are sparked, and potential problems are surfaced and examined in the moment.
However, this only works in a safe environment where all group members feel welcomed, respected, and needed. Strategic selection of members results in a group that comprises all required competencies along with diverse knowledge, skills, and attitudes. Synergy doesn’t come from a group of clones.
The downside, though, is that groups of talented people can be challenging to manage. To successfully navigate the typical stages of group development (e.g., forming, storming, norming, and performing) and capitalize on the synergy of groups requires effective facilitation skills. If you’d like to brush up on your group facilitation skills, join the Group Facilitation Strategies for Career Programs course, starting May 20, 2015. Experience for yourself, the synergy of working as part of a talented and effective group!