Working Toward Team Synergy

You’ve probably witnessed how a collaborative group outperforms one that isn’t collaborative.  How a sports team magically wins when they are attuned to every player versus one that is not.  A synergistic team is a group of people whose differences come together in such a way as to create something remarkable together that they could not have done alone. Putting the right people together transcends any talent deficiencies creating joy and winning projects.

What is the difference between a group of people who together to do a job (team) and a group of people who reach synergy?  How can one foresee which group will have the ability to move beyond normal team behavior to one that holds the collaborative trophy of success?

Undoubtedly, there are many decisions that impact the creation of a phenomenal team that executes flawlessly and outperforms other similar groups.  Team members are often brought together because they share interests, have common values, and complementary strengths yet there are five additional factors to consider if you want to form a team whose work will soar toward synergy.

Trust each other

Trust among the team members is the foundation of building a team.  People who trust each other can make mistakes without being ridiculed, they can make changes to each other’s ideas, and they can innovate without worry about being accepted.  They offer themselves and their ideas in a confidently vulnerable way, encouraging each other to freely create.

Understand Productive Conflict

When people trust each other, they accept conflict as a pathway toward generative ideas and productivity.  They aren’t offended when their ideas are changed, switched, or eliminated.  Instead they see this as a stepping stone toward a better solution.

Appreciate Diversity

People with divergent backgrounds offer divergent perspectives.  These differences can add a viewpoint that might be missed if everyone on the team is similar.  Additionally, people whose strengths are not the same will bring insight to the work that will combine in a unique way.  Worldviews can often challenge the status quo causing disruption, opening preconceived ideas.  Openminded team members embrace new, different ideas and often expand upon them.

Exhibit Creativity

All people are creative even if they don’t acknowledge it.  Having open, non-judgmental brainstorming allows team members to play with ideas.  An idea from one person can spark an idea from another. When everyone freely shares and accepts new thoughts, group energy increases and even individuals who never identified as creative contribute.

Ability to Focus

When each member of the team is focused on the same successful end to their challenge they create powerful momentum that is used to co-create an environment where team similarities and differences merge.  They look for opportunities to leverage each other’s talents and strengths knowing that without each other the solution would be very different.   See this amusing example:

Creating a team that will move toward synergy starts by selecting people who can trust each other.  When they trust each other, they can use conflict as a productive tool.  Having a team that is diverse, both in life experiences and strengths will increase the group’s perspective and creativity.  Focusing on the same end-goal means they will co-create an environment moving them toward success and beyond.

If you like what you read here, you might be interested in this cutting edge, validated assessment tool that measures Team Connection, Work Joy, Proactivity, and Confident Vulnerability: C2B Assessment (SEE different to BE different!).

This blog comes from the People Acuity Co-Thought Leader Community and is written by Pamela Enz and DeAnna Murphy.


Pamela Enz is a Strengths Strategy Certified Coach and part of the People Acuity Co-Thought Leader community.  She holds her Master of Organizational Leadership from Bethel University and is an adjunct Professor at the University of Minnesota.  Pam is a serial entrepreneur and uses her vast experience to coach emerging entrepreneurs and developing teams bring their work to soaring, synergistic heights.

DeAnna Murphy, a 23-year organizational development veteran, author, and keynote speaker, is also the CEO of People Acuity, an affiliate of Strengths Strategy, which is in 34 countries, and includes over 300 practitioners across the globe. Her first book, Shift Up! Strengths Strategies for Optimal Living is available on Amazon.

Which is More Important: Passion or Purpose?

If you have ever wondered if passion is more important than purpose (or vice versa), there is a SIGNIFICANT difference in the way they impact you – at least at work. Here is an excerpt from Stanford’s Dan and Chip Heath’s new book, The Power of Moments: Why Certain Moments have an Extraordinary Impact that contains breakthrough new research about the relationship between passion, purpose and performance. Ready for it?

University of California Berkeley Professor Morten Hansen surveyed 5,000 employees and managers to understand the makeup of star performers. Hansen also explored the distinction between purpose and passion. Purpose is defined as the “send” that you are contributing to others, that your work has broader meaning. Passion is the feeling of excitement and enthusiasm you have about your work. Hansen was curious which would have the greater effect on job performance.

He grouped employees into categories. For instance, people who were low on passion and low on purpose were ranked by their bosses on average at the 10th percentile of performance:

That’s lousy but not surprising: If you are unenthusiastic about your job and feel it lacks meaning, you’re not likely to overachieve. The opposite is true as well. When people had high passion and high purpose, they were stars:

Again, pretty predictable. But what if employees were strong on only one trait: passion or purpose? Who would perform better, the passionate or the purposeful? Let’s start with the passionate:

That’s a shocking finding: People who were passionate about their jobs – who expressed high levels of excitement about their work-were still poor performers if they lacked a sense of purpose. And here’s the final piece of the puzzle:

Purpose trumps passion. Graduation speakers take note: the best advice is not “Pursue your passion!” It’s pursue your purpose!

Amazing, right? You NEED purpose to feel alive!! True story.

If you don’t know what your purpose is, there is a way to find out. Reach out to us at, or check out The Three Guides to Changing Your People Equation to learn all about the power of Purpose Alignment, and to begin to discover how to find your purpose. Or you may want to sign up for our special 2-day leadership retreat where we will spend one entire day helping you explode your results through Purpose Alignment (coming to Utah at the end of March – see our website for more information).

NOTE: this article was written by DeAnna Murphy, Lisa Gregory, and Steve Jeffs, the People Acuity thought leader team. If you liked this article, you may want to download Chapter 1 of People Acuity: Revolutionizing Results and Relationships.

Join us for these and other exciting outcomes on March 1, at 7 a.m. CST, or 11 a.m. CST – register here:

NOTE: this was written by DeAnna Murphy, Lisa Gregory, and Steve Jeffs, the People Acuity thought leader team.

DeAnna Murphy, a 23-year organizational development veteran and CEO of People Acuity, has led the 7-year research process with the People Acuity Analytics team.  It has involved over 10,000 individuals around the globe participating in original qualitative and quantitative research, exploration of over 1,000 academic and practitioner articles, top-rated marketing reports, and analysis of 200 of the best-selling books in leadership, self-help, business, and psychology.  People Acuity, an affiliate of Strengths Strategy, is in 31 countries, and includes over 300 practitioners across the globe.

Lisa Gregory is a thought leader and Manager of Product Development and Delivery at People Acuity. With 17 years of business experience as a trainer, coach, advisor, entrepreneur and corporate leader, Lisa has extensive experience in learning and development, at both strategic and implementation levels. She has worked with leaders in 80 percent of the Fortune 500 and Global 1000 companies and has broad and deep knowledge of the challenges facing top executives, employees, and managers as they strive to bring their best to an organization and to their own lives.

Steve Jeffs is the Chief Scientist, Senior Faculty and is co-leading the international expansion of People Acuity. Integral to the People Acuity Analytics team, Steve recently presented the validation of our Foundations of Interdependent Teams Scale at the World Congress of Positive Psychology. He is a registered Psychologist, multi-award winning Executive Coach, energetic facilitator and scientist. Fascinated by interdependence and synergy, Steve is completing his Doctorate in this field, and applies this learning, consulting with organizations and in Executive Coaching with Senior Organizational Leaders around the world. Steve lives in Dubai, UAE, and operates globally.

The Top 13 People Acuity Blog Posts of 2017

As we count down the days to a new year, we have great new blogs, articles, and authors planned to feature in 2018! Until then, we are sharing the Top 13 posts from the blog in 2017 – based on views and shares. Peruse, gain insight, and be inspired by the most popular content of the year. As always, feel free to share your comments – we love to keep the conversation going.

The Top 13 Strengths Strategy Blog posts of 2017:

  1. Seven Ways to Improve Team Communications Today
    by Teri Johnson and DeAnna Murphy
  2. What is the English equivalent of Arbejdsglaede?
    by DeAnna Murphy, Lisa Gregory, and Steve Jeffs
  3. Engagement – Isn’t It Time to Lift Our Sights a Little Higher?
    by DeAnna Murphy, Lisa Gregory, and Steve Jeffs
  4. When Performance Falls Flat: The Surprise Missing Ingredient
    by DeAnna Murphy, Lisa Gregory, and Steve Jeffs
  5. 5 Signs That Your Team Has the Difference-Making Factor
    by Lyne Tumlinson and DeAnna Murphy
  6. When Your Dream Takes an Unexpected Turn
    by DeAnna Murphy, Lisa Gregory, and Steve Jeffs
  7. 3 Things Leading-Edge Leaders See Differently
    by DeAnna Murphy, Lisa Gregory, and Steve Jeffs
  8. The One Little Thing that Gives You the Biggest Competitive Advantage
    by DeAnna Murphy, Lisa Gregory, and Steve Jeffs
  9. Engagement – It’s Not Impossible, If You Look in the Right Direction
    by DeAnna Murphy, Lisa Gregory, and Steve Jeffs
  10. Are You on the ‘Edge’ of the Cutting Edge? What is the Opportunity Cost of Not Being There?
    by DeAnna Murphy, Lisa Gregory, and Steve Jeffs
  11. A Sure-Fire Way to Achieve Million-Dollar Outcomes (in Work and Life)
    by DeAnna Murphy, Lisa Gregory, and Steve Jeffs
  12. 5 Signs You Manage a World-Class Interdependent Team
    by DeAnna Murphy, Lisa Gregory, and Steve Jeffs
  13. Transforming Competing Relationships into Complementary Ones
    by Tinus van der Merwe and Lisa Gregory

We’ll see you soon, and stay tuned for upcoming blogs. Until then, warmest wishes for the holiday season and new year.

The People Acuity Team