THE TEAM-BUILDING PARADIGM
I want to kill the guy who invented synergy.
Just wring his corpulent corporate neck. I'll teach him to think outside the box. I'll kill him and all his little team-building buddies.
It could be a bitter over-reaction, but I don't think so.
I work for the largest corporation in the world. Honestly, we just bought France.
Anyway, now that we own everything, all the big high-up muckity-mucks have decided we're a giant happy family and that engaging in wanton synergy is the best thing we can do to drive shareholder value.
Corporate lingo note: "Driving shareholder value" is almost as important as "growing the company."
Further explanation: Anytime you hear anyone use either of those phrases, what they're really saying is, "My 401k is so in hock to this place I'm peeing the company colors."
I'm getting off point. The topic is synergy. The whole business world is enslaved to synergy. It's the fad of the week. It is the Enrique Iglesias of the "Wall Street Journal" crowd.
But what is it?
"Synergy" defined: You do all the work and they make all the decisions.
Basically, synergy is when your company buys another business and all the people at that business have you do their work while they go to lunch with your boss. Sometimes they have to walk on hot coals, too, or climb ropes. It's all in the name of "the new paradigm."
Another cool corporate word: "Exponential."
Which means: "I'm bucking for vice president."
Which means: "I'll have to gain 100 pounds and count my golf clubs as checked baggage."
Anyway, synergy always begins with some kind of introduction. Usually it's a big meet-and-greet. Sometimes there's free food, maybe even drink coupons. At these events you walk around smiling broadly, speaking in an unusually loud voice, shaking hands robustly, being the nicest guy in the world, trying to figure out whose throat you can cut and who's going to try to cut your throat.
Gatherings of co-workers are fun. Gatherings of synergized step-siblings are torture.
Not that they probably aren't wonderful people, but it's just the fact that sometimes, when you're a rocket scientist and they're a nail technician, it's kind of hard to figure out how things fit.
Plus, everybody who gets synergized gets afraid. Because you're sure the company is going to get rid of somebody's job when they figure out they've got two of you doing it, and you're not quite sure if it's going to be the other guy's job or yours.
Another way of looking at synergy is that it's sort of like networking. Remember that? That very irritating thing where people ask you for your business card so they can call you and ask you to do their work for them. It's like if somebody has your business card you have to give them free stuff. This is the reason I don't carry business cards. And I don't carry other people's business cards. At least not any farther than the nearest trash can.
Maybe I'm anti-social.
Or maybe this whole synergy thing is just the biggest pain in the butt.
You be the judge.
- by Bob Lonsberry © 2012