Synergy versus Leverage

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I got into an interesting conversation about distinctions, recently. Specifically, it was about the difference between ‘synergy’ and ‘leverage’. Here’s what we concluded:

Synergy is the idea that 1 + 1 > 2. In other words, when you’re working with someone on something at work, at home, at school, or wherever, the two of you can accomplish more working TOGETHER than you could if you each worked separately. So, it’s like a teamwork, or delegation, kind of thing.

Leverage is the idea that 1 > 1. That is, we can increase the amount of work we can accomplish by changing HOW we work. So, leverage is like a time-management, strategic implementation kind of thing.

Increasing Synergy When Working with Others

Try any of these:

  • Take some time to chat with, and get to know, your teammates. (The more we know people, personally, the easier it is to Round Up and Round Out what they’re saying.)
  • Look for complementary skills in others. (What may come easy for you might be very challenging for others, and vice versa.)
  • Take a jazz-centric approach. (Allow for improvisation within a predetermined, formalized structure.)
  • Encourage Intelligent Debate. (Encourage others – even the quiet people – to help identify and evaluate the viable options
  • Be a Productivity Catalyst. (Do something that puts others in the right mindset for doing truly fabulous work.)

Synergy is better than my way or your way. It’s OUR way.
– Stephen Covey, American Educator, Author

Increasing Leverage When Doing Things by Yourself

Try any of these:

  • Take a REAL lunch break. (Without sufficient downtime to refresh and recharge, we’re rarely as efficient or effective as we’d hope – or as we think.)
  • Recognize stress as your friend. (What we BELIEVE about stress means more to our well-being than that it happens to BE stress.)
  • Stop being a Martyr-Leader. (Learn how to not let overwhelm be so…overwhelming.)
  • Invite your Best Self to join in. (Allow confidence, joy, and ease to represent – and inform – who you are.)
  • Improve your odds for success. (Consider the power of having a bigger reason for everything you do.)

Leverage is the ability to apply POSITIVE pressure on yourself to follow through on your decisions even when it hurts.
– Orrin Woodward, Author


I hope this post has helped you learn something about yourself and those you work with. If so, please make a point to share your insights with others as a way to “lock in” your learning.

What synergy- and leverage-building ideas have YOU found helpful? Why?

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