Synergy

Perhaps the best business buzzword ever. Coming from the technical implementation side of business, I always hear it used by executives when talking strategy. To be honest, I didn’t realize it was an actual word until recently when I started seeing it in management books. I’ve previously interpreted it as a mashup of the words “synergistic” and “energy”.

Dictionary.com defines synergy as:

synergy. noun. the interaction of elements that when combined produce a total effect that is greater than the sum of the individual elements, contributions, etc.; synergism.

Merriam-Webster defines it as “the increased effectiveness that results when two or more people or businesses work together”.

The word actually comes from the Greek synergos meaning “working together” (syn: together; ergos: work) and was first used in English in 1650.

So synergy is more than just a harmonious partnership. It describes a partnership where the output is greater than the sum of the individual contributions. In the ideal case, I would say synergy is a positive feedback loop; each partner can draw more out of the other.