Synergize is the habit of creative cooperation. It is teamwork, open-mindedness, and the adventure of finding new solutions to old problems. – Stephen Covey
There are many debates about how correct it is to divide the functions of the brain into two broad functions, with the left being the side which processes our logical thoughts and the right our creative and empathetic. However for the purpose of this step, I am going to avoid getting bogged down in how accurate this clear distinction of left and right processing is in favor of using this separation as a way of emphasizing that greatness lies in the moment you synergize your logical plans with creative empathetic carrying-out. Our left side to the brain is our intelligence quotient (IQ), the part of our brain that determines how we analyze info and how we plan out processes. It helps us interpret our environment in block and stages and provides us with a functional approach to issues and problems. In a work sense this “left” logical side is the part which we use to plan out our success and to structure how this will be achieved. The right side meanwhile is our emotional quotient (EQ), the part of our brain we most use to understand how we feel whilst experiencing the moment. It allows us to emphasize with individuals, flow our thoughts creatively and find human meaning in the reasons why we feel certain things. In a work sense this “right”, creative and emphatic side, is the part which we most use when experiencing a work moment, our mood and reaction (positive or negative) are controlled in this area. To get optimum results at work we should be planning and structuring our days and work with the left side of our brain but acting it out and living it with our right.
We plan our work days with the left side of our brains and live it out with our right.
Real success therefore lies when we “syngerize” our logic and plans with our creative empathetic implementation of them. If we didn’t plan with logic and structure we would never be able to deal with the quantity of work we have and would rather be jumping from one disorganization or emergency to another. However likewise if we didn’t implement our plans with creativity and empathy, we wouldn’t be able to react to the unexpected and would find it hard to keep ourselves or others believing in the value of what we were doing. Managers who just plan, using only their logic and structural mind, inevitably forget the “people element” to work, confusing human efficiency and motivation with that of a machine. However likewise, managers who only show empathy and creatively will inevitably buzz around from one “great” idea or coaching project to another but without aligning those ideas or that people development to any cohesive work project or goal. The first category of manager would be the bureaucrat who but has little understanding and/or empathy for what effects their plans have on people and fast loses the support and motivation of their team. The second would be the artist with “big ideas” but no discipline to decide on one and follow it through to success. Often they would fast end up using up all available financial and human resources on “ideas”. This is why great managers need to use both the bureaucratic (left) and artistic (right) parts of their brains and ensure their structure and team can both plan sufficiently and implement to the needed level.
Great managers plan and structure like bureaucrats but implement and empathize like artists.
In fact I would argue one of the most important skills of a manager is to be a “synergizer” of planning with implementation. The first stage to this is being a leader capable of recruiting and managing a team with a variety of qualities. You will usually need an equal amount of people who are more disposed to be “planners” (left side thinkers) and those more empathetic and creative (the right side thinkers). Likewise you should manage your team to respect and understand the qualities of everyone and get them to realize it is combined efforts of all, with their different talents and weaknesses, which pushes the team to success. It is also crucial you push all to work on their weaker side and never accept that just being a great planner or implementer will give success on its own, they should also be good in the other area. Indeed this final point is the most important component of a great syngerizer as it will be your decisions and people management that gets the artists on the team to respect the value of following the direction provided by the plan. Likewise those same decision and human interaction will get the bureaucrats to understand that some adapting of the plan is needed due to human error or weakness and that the plan itself will only be at its best if some creative final touches are added by the “artists”. This blending of logic with creativity is where high achievement lays.
Looking at the above we can see a breakdown of the type of thought processes we do from our logical and creative sides. It is clear that it is union of both which gives the success we need. For example a presentation is only made up well if we logically break down what data needs included but then likewise if when delivering the presentation we do not “react” to the feeling in the room in that moment and amend our style of delivery we will not get the needed emotional response, as logic by itself will not convince the audience of the value of our presentation, they also need to feel what you say matters. Likewise good leaders plan meetings for the good reason of being efficient with time but if they are always inflexible about covering anything other than what is in the meeting agenda, they will fast find themselves losing the emotional connection with their team. People need to feel a certain “humanness” in meetings and that comes from the willingness to react to things outside of the set agenda structure but of course a good leader judges well when this is needed and when it isn’t. Likewise when we plan what tasks need done we actively use our logical brain to make sure we have covered all and have broken it down into a format which can be delegated. However when we pass these parts on to our team, it will be the creative empathetic skills which we will need to use to get the staff member to connect with the “why” of the tasks. We want stewards not gofers but staff will only connect with objectives (over tasks) if they understand the value and reason of what they are doing and that will come from them emotional connecting with what you pass on.
Separating whether you need to be more logical or more empathetic in a concrete moments helps you to activate the needed parts of your brain.
To be great managers we need to know when to activate our logical disciplined thought processes but also when to allow our mind to flow creatively. Even more than that we have to build and maintain teams of people capable of doing this. When managing this team we need to be the synergizer, the leader who synergizers the great plans with the great implementation.
Great leaders are great synergizes.