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That Guy’s Tips for Corporate Success, #4 September 2, 2008

Posted by That Guy in Tips for Corporate Success.
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The left hand never, ever knows what the right hand is doing.

Synergy is the name of the game. There’s no definition here on Corporatespeak yet explaining what it really means, but according to the American Heritage Dictionary, synergy is:

1. The interaction of two or more agents or forces so that their combined effect is greater than the sum of their individual effects.
2. Cooperative interaction among groups, especially among the acquired subsidiaries or merged parts of a corporation, that creates an enhanced combined effect.

Yeah. That. Not so much, when it comes to most businesses.

Lack of synergy begins at the corporate level. Most companies have no idea what people in other departments actually do; each one is its own jealously-guarded keep, complete with troll bridge. Inside, people in advertising sales will have no idea what the IT staff does, and the IT staff will have no idea what the content people do, and the content people will be so isolated from management that when management comes up with a “great” idea, someone’s going to have to draw the short straw and inform them that it’s not possible.

Even people in similar departments lack synergy. Salespeople couldn’t tell you how ad traffickers traffic ads, and neither of those groups have any idea how the ads are created.

Then you get down to the different branches. The product development group won’t know how the content management group works, marketing will never even care, and sales will just throw ads at everyone and hope they appear as promised.

And within an office? Forget it.

The problem, though, is that with the increasing need to do more with less, people who don’t care about others’ jobs are stuck learning how to do those jobs. No adequate documentation, no real training, no time to practice, and in the end, when the people who do those jobs for a living are gone, the place will fall apart; there’ll be no one who can do their jobs.

Synergy. Get used to it. Or, more precisely, get used to the left hand never, ever knowing what the right hand is doing.

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