Synergizing: Understanding Team vs Group

by | Jan 27, 2021 | Uncategorized | 0 comments



Synergizing within an organization is not an accounting trick. It is not the manipulation of people to get better results. It originates from knowledgeable leadership that molds individuals into becoming part of a new identity. Synergy is a word that neither has a “U” or “I”. Rather, synergy is about team.

Great teams are not easy to come by. At times, this is due to a lack of organizational leadership in management, deficient in the proper judgment and ability to form great teams. This is common in volunteer-based organizations, where they are just trying to fill open positions with warm bodies. Groups of people are made instead of teams. By definition, a group is: “a number of individuals assembled together or having some unifying relationship.” [1]

Sometimes these groups can be very dysfunctional. We can perhaps all relate to a time when we were in school and were assigned a group project. The goal was to get a high score for the project by making deadlines and project benchmarks. This, however, became a daunting challenge when a project member turned a team effort into a group nightmare. It is a common, but painful story. Hopefully, it is also a good lesson about organizational principles. This example showcases the impact of a placement mistake from which everyone suffers. Nevertheless, from that experience, we are better able to grasp the concept of “team,” and the role teams will play in this new year.




Teams of 2021 will be working together to make amazing results. The teamwork required to do this will be set at a higher level, given that 2021 will be flaunted with more challenges to work as a team than ever before due to Covid-19 restrictions. Please allow me to throw up a sketch of teams in 2021 as  a group of individuals bound by a common mission or goal to create a mind-blowing, synergistic, competitive edge through mutual respect, cooperation, and coordination.

Another word for this team-awesomeness is synergy. Synergy is the test of whether individuals will become a team or just a group. Great recruiters and consultant firms know how to quickly identify this trait and source candidates who will make this happen for a client. This word “synergy” is also found in the business classic book, “The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People®”. Covey relates:

“Synergy is the essence of Principle-Centered Leadership. It is the essence of principle-centered parenting. It catalyzes, unifies, and unleashes the greatest powers within people. All the habits we have covered prepare us to create the miracle of synergy. What is synergy? Simply defined, it means that the whole is greater than the sum of its parts. It means that the relationship which the parts have to each other is a part in and of itself. It is not only a part, but the most catalytic, the most empowering, the most unifying, and the most exciting part.”




Synergy finds its roots in relationships. A well-trained eye can take a look at a company and tell if it is doing well by the health of its relationships. Where that is lacking, so will synergy.

Take now a moment to examine your own organization or group you manage. Consider the relationships that are established. Are there places where your management suffers or at least can be improved? Imagine the power it has for your company to harness the effects of synergy. It is well worth the time pondering.

Spirit Consulting is graced to have this reality currently. The fruits of such have been numerous: meeting deadlines ahead of schedule; finding hidden opportunities and growth; pivoting aggressively to meet new requirements; and making a great work-life culture. It is what happens when people put their mission before their ego. Team interactions can blossom into relationships based on the mutual appreciation of each person’s thought leadership, skillset, and ethics.

I encourage you to see the difference between team and group, and create a 2021 team effort to restore our world from the devastation in 2020. Synergy led Michael Jordan and the Bulls to winning several championships. Could it perhaps help turn the tide for 2021 as well?


Spirit Consulting is a boutique management consulting firm with clients across multiple industries and regions of the United States. We offer expert consulting in Executive Search, Business Strategy, HR Consulting, Executive Coaching, and Industrial-Organizational Psychology. Rooted in our relational, client-tailored approach, these service lines work synergistically to maximize your organization’s potential. Call (630) 621-3411 or email [email protected] for more information on how Spirit Consulting can help create the best version of your business. If you are interested in applying to jobs we are retained on, please visit

Written by Richard M. Kochel

Image by ar130405 from Pixabay

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