Saturday, March 27, 2010


Synergy is a law of nature. The word means “combined effort being greater than the parts”, and it has often been used to describe the functions of an effective team. In leadership parlance “synergy” is one of those golden conditions which propel a group forward in whatever task is at hand.

The flight of Canadian geese has often served as an example of synergy. A flock of geese can cover great distances precisely because they work together “synergistically”, forming themselves into a “V” formation. In that formation the flock adds 71% greater flying range. And that is not just because of the aerodynamics of goose bodies! The genius of the flock in flight is that leadership is rotated – when the goose at the head of the flock gets tired, another one takes over, as leadership is shared. Meanwhile, those behind the leaders honk encouragement to keep the pace moving. And, if one goose is wounded or becomes ill, two will stay behind to help it.

Synergy… 1 + 1 = more than 2. It is true for geese, and equally true for us. At some level, we all know this. So why is it that we sometimes resist working together? Why is it that we even resist the formations we know will be most healing for us?

I suspect it is because we have not paid close enough attention to those geese. Yesterday morning I was taking a very wet walk around the high school track, which was literally surrounded by more than 200 geese. About a mile into my walk something spooked the flock and they took to the air amidst much honking and flapping. My first thought was “Oh dear, Mr. Hitchcock!” (remember “The Birds”?). But then I began to watch the geese as they all headed off in roughly the same direction, but not in one single V! Indeed, those geese formed at least 25 separate “V” formations, all honking encouragement, all making for whatever pond or saturated field was next, all sharing the power of synergy.

In this year of Re-Birth, it will be good for me to remind myself that transformation is not about falling lock-step in line with any particular fitness guru. It does not require me to fly in any one formation every moment of every day. As long as I am still traveling in the direction of health, with clarity about God's vision for my life right now, my 1 + 1 will definitely equal more than 2!

No comments:

Post a Comment