The buzzword “synergy” which was once a derogatory term for corporations, has now returned to the conversation as companies look for ways to collaborate across departments in remote or hybrid settings for example. The word isn’t used as a pejorative corporate term but instead to describe the process of collaboration that is highly sought-after.

Synergy is built on the concept that the whole is greater than the sum of its parts. This positive synergy allows teams to achieve greater results than they would be able to on their on their own. It also gives team members a chance to work as a team with their own views, talents and communication styles.

On the other hand, negative synergy can bring teams down and lead to subpar deliverables despite each person’s individual competencies. This is typically due to miscommunications or conflicts over responsibilities, roles and schedules.

To avoid these issues it is vital that teams establish a solid foundation of trust and cooperation by clearly defining the goal for the project and clearly defining each team member’s role in this. The most effective way to accomplish this is to implement an interactive role mapping process in which each team member works with their counterparts to develop a clear record of who is responsible for what and when. This can save teams a lot of time, energy, and conflict by minimizing confusion from the beginning. It makes it easier for managers, if necessary they can be able to step in and coach.