While some articles in the Business Builder Guide may be continuations, our objective is to make all of them pertinent and valuable as stand-alone articles – in so doing there is a minimal amount of repetition. In this article, to provide you the necessary foundation to understand, allow me to summarize a few points from our premier issue of several months ago.
We discussed our ‘whitewater world’ and the reality of being under pressure to accomplish “more with less” concerning resources of every kind; people, marketing & advertising dollars, physical equipment, and even time. We are always asking ourselves, “Is there anything we can do about these pressures? They don’t seem to be diminishing in any way, shape, or form.”
The fastest way to accomplish more with less is synergy, within a team that shares a one-team one-goal mentality, where trust is dominant, and competencies are complementary! Dr. Stephen R. Covey’s Habit 6, from “The 7-Habits of Highly Effective People” is SYNERGY. This is defined by him, “1 + 1 = 3 or more,” sometimes significantly more, even an exponential increase in effective results! Simply put, the unified combined efforts of a true team are far greater than the sum of the parts. Now, in theory – that sounds simple and easy. However, in my life experiences I’ve seen many things that are simple in concept, but certainly not easy in practice or application. Clearly without TRUST there is only minimal or fragmented benefit to being a team. Quite often we as humans make things harder than they need to be, especially in interpersonal relationships. The KISS principle (Keep It Simple Stupid) is unfortunately not often utilized, because it isn’t complex enough.
Along these lines Steve Jobs said, “That’s been one of my mantras – focus and simplicity. Simple can be harder than complex. You have to work hard to get your thinking clean to make it simple. But it’s worth it in the end because once you get there, you can move mountains.” Einstein said, “If you can’t explain it to a six year old, you don’t understand it yourself.”
Why do jealously and intimidation always seem to play a starring role in the evolution of any organization becoming a true TEAM? Remedy this problem - believe and then adopt the words of Zig Ziglar, “There is no limit to what a person can accomplish if they don’t care who gets the credit.” For synergy to exist, members of the team must not showboat – they must realize that the outcome of the whole will exceed the combined outcome of the individual effort. The teams that simply demonstrate true synergy are few & far between, but I think of the Seattle Seahawks in Super Bowl XLVIII (or Super Bowl 48 for us non-Romans). I refer to the spring of 2014, not the 2015 Super Bowl in which the Seahawks attempted a repeat. In the most recent Super Bowl, the Seahawks were only a small fraction of the synergistic masterpiece they were the year before. I believe part of this difference had to do with the hype of 2014 being their first opportunity at the big show, but regardless, they clearly didn’t demonstrate in 2015 the same level of synergy they did the year before.
In the 2014 game, where they annihilated the Denver Broncos, the Seahawks played with a higher level of teamwork than I’ve ever previously observed. Some may call this hype or that the players were psyched up and aggressively willing to be the underdogs against the Broncos – but their playing as a TEAM was stellar, and should be talked about for a long time. Watching their synergy was like hearing terrific poetry, like seeing a magnificent sunset, like the sweetest music to my ears! The Seahawks had so much synergy it was practically oozing all over the field.
The Broncos, highly favored to win, were mentally slapped from the opening play and they could never get back into the game. The Broncos had been record setting all season! Peyton Manning, arguably one the finest quarterbacks to ever play the game, had set numerous records leading up to Super Bowl Sunday. The very first play of the game - where the ball was hiked way over Manning’s head into the end zone, and the way the Seahawks were all over the play – in my humble opinion, psychologically removed Denver from the ball game! This score within 12 seconds of the kickoff set a Super Bowl record. Ironically the Seahawks also scored again within 12 seconds in the second half of the game! This spectacular 87 yard kickoff return by Seattle’s Percy Harvin, where he picked up the ball off a bounce, not only solidified a record that will most likely never be beaten, but it destroyed the psyche of the Broncos for the second half as well. I was personally astounded by the minimal number of single defensive player tackles. It seems like every tackle was executed by two or more Seahawks swarming like a well-orchestrated hive of bees – going in for the kill.
It’s enlightening to examine what happened with Percy Harvin after he played so fantastically during this particular Super Bowl. According to reports, he was not really a team player. He got into fights with other players, and although he was a singular superstar, the Seattle Seahawks traded him to the New York Jets, because he would not contribute to the synergy of the team. In the 1980 victory of the USA’s Olympic hockey team over the dominant Russian team, which had won gold medals in so many Olympic games that they were intimidating by the mere mention of their name, Coach Herb Brooks was ridiculed and belittled when he insisted on having the ‘RIGHT’ players not necessarily the ‘BEST’ Players. Powerful!
All these examples are significant and should be pondered upon. Best wishes implementing the same powerful synergy in your organization.