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The Oxford Dictionary defines synergy as:

‘the interaction or cooperation of two or more organizations, substances, or other agents to produce a combined effect greater than the sum of their separate effects.’

C > A + B

Hmmm … Interaction and cooperation to produce a greater combined effect. How often do we put our heads down and work with a narrow focus and a personal agenda?

There’s a reason The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People (Stephen Covey) became a best-seller, and synergy is one of the habits this book explores. A flock of geese flying in formation is often used to illustrate synergy. By travelling together and in the familiar V-shape, they take turns to bear the brunt of the headwind and use each other’s slipstream, leading to greater success and a faster journey when working together, with reduced energy expenditure per individual.

In order to collaborate effectively, Covey encourages us to value our differences, create new solutions (it isn’t either/or; it’s and), listen to understand, be open to feedback and build relationships with trust and respect.

If we consider how SA AIA members could better collaborate, a few ideas come to mind. We could:

  • Discuss common problems and share insights and solutions.

  • Broaden skill sets by learning from one another.

  • Advertise with/for each other.

  • Team up to increase the spectrum of what each can offer their clients.

  • Create a common knowledge base/resource hub.

Working together will lead to outcomes greater than the sum of the parts. There is still some unchartered territory ahead, but considering what we’ve already achieved, greater collaboration could benefit each one of us by contributing to:

  • Accountability and motivation, instead of feeling alone.

  • Knowing someone has your back: improved personal and business reserve, available sounding boards, greater business resilience when facing illness or injury.

  • Quicker problem-solving.

  • Collaborative and cross-disciplinary CPD.

  • Reduced marketing costs and/or increased reach and ROI.

  • Documented/recorded industry knowledge available for reference, improvement, future research, etc.

SA AIA’s conference certainly broke the ice. What we need to do now is reach out to one another to build relationships and our networks.

Let’s get our goose on!

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