Timothy Wilken, MD
Synergy means working together—operating together as in Co-Operation—laboring together as in Co-Laboration—acting together as in Co-Action. The goal of synergic union is to accomplish a larger or more difficult task than can be accomplished by individuals working separately.
However true synergy, which gives us humans the opportunity to accomplish more together than we can accomplish separately, also requires more from us. It requires synergic consensus. For any group of humans, synergic consensus can provide a much more powerful mechanism of decision making than even the best majority rule democracy carefully following Roberts Rules of Order.
All decisions within a truly synergic group are made within decision heterarchy. A decision heterarchy is made up of a group of humans with common purpose. The minimum number is 2 the maximum number is presently unknown. I believe the ideal size may be ~six or seven individuals. The group is organized horizontally with all individuals sharing equal authority and equal responsibility.
Most Western humans are familiar with the democratic committee system. It is very different from the decision heterarchy. While both are methods of organizing human individuals to make decisions for group action. Committees are filled with conflict and highly ineffective. In a committee no individual is held responsible for the actions taken by the group. And decision is made by majority ultimatum. A dissenting minority member is forced to support the action he voted against or leave the committee. Heterarchy within a synergic group, in contrast organizes individuals to have equal authority to decide on joint action with equal responsibility for the resultant that is produced by that joint action.
Synergic consensus occurs when a group of humans sitting in heterarchy negotiate to reach a decision in which they all win and in which no one loses. In a synergic heterarchy, all members sit on the same level as “equals”. No one has more authority than anyone else. Every one has equal responsibility and equal authority within the heterarchy. The assignment for the heterarchy is to find a plan of action so that all members win. It is the collective responsibility of the entire heterarchy to find this “best” solution. Anyone can propose a plan to accomplish the needs of the group. All problems related to accomplishing the needs would be discussed at length in the heterarchy.
The proposed plan of action for solving a problem is examined by all members of the heterarchy. Anyone can suggest a modification, or even an alternative action to solve the problem. All members of the heterarchy serve as information sources for each other. The heterarchy continues in discussion until a plan of action is found that will work for everyone. When all are in agreement and only then can the plan be implemented. The plan insures that all members of the synergic heterarchy win. All members are required to veto any plan where they or anyone else would lose. But all vetoes are immediately followed by renegotiation to modify the plan of action so that loss can be eliminated.
Most humans are surprised to learn of veto power. It seems very strange in the world of “directed” management. How can the boss allow employee’s to veto his orders and get anything done?
Members of an Organizational Tensegrity (Ortegrity) are not employees. They stand equal with the organizer. A major secret of life is that self-directed organization is much more efficient than other-directed organization. The secret is to transcend directing anyone. The Ortegrity creates the ideal environment for self-organization. In an environment of self-organization, human potential blossoms. Humans operate at a more powerful level. Those in an Ortegrity soon realize that their well being depends on the success of their organizations. They realize that if they wish to be well paid their organization must be successful. They have high interest in successful solutions to their tasks. They desire to be successful, and they want their organizations to be successful as well.
Now once the members of a heterarchy have decided on a plan of action. They then renegotiate among themselves to divide the plan of action into subtasks. Recall that all members sit on the same level as “equals”. No one has more authority than anyone else. Every one has equal responsibility and equal authority within the heterarchy. The assignment for the heterarchy is to find the best plan to accomplish the task so all members will win. It is the collective responsibility of the entire heterarchy to find this “best” solution. Anyone can propose a plan to accomplish the task. All problems related to accomplishing the task would be discussed at length in the heterarchy.
The proposed plan for accomplishing the task would be examined by all members of the heterarchy. Anyone could suggest a modification, or even a completely different alternative plan to accomplish the task-always seeking to maximize the win. All individuals would serve as information sources for each other. The heterarchy would continue in discussion until a plan could be found that worked well for everyone. The goal of the heterarchy is to find that course of action that maximizes the win for everyone, if that is not possible and the group must lose, then the goal becomes to find that action which minimizes loss for everyone. And when loss occurs it is shared equally by all.
Because all loss positions are vetoed, all relationships become win-win. The power of synergic consensus rests on finding the third alternative. A major fact about human performance mental or physical is that it is greatest when the individual is winning. Examine our Olympic athletes or our Nobel laureates. An environment that allows only win-win relationships will produce major increases in efficiency, productivity, and quality of work-life.
We humans are presently conditioned to expect our relationships to be win/lose. We view most situations from that either/or point of view. Either I win or I lose. It has to be one or the other. Synergy science reveals the third alternative. It may be harder to find, but there almost always exists a third way of doing things so no one loses. Or at worst you are assured that the loss has been minimized and equally shared. This distributes the loss so it has the least negative effect on the individual. This is the win-win way-this is synergy.
When all were in agreement and only then would the plan be implemented. The plan must insure that all members of the group win. Any member can veto a losing plan. Taking the time in decision making to discover the win-win way means that action will be many times more efficient.
Synergic consensus is unanimous consensus. Unanimous consensus is protected by the judicious use of the synergic veto. Synergic relationship requires that when any party within a group is losing, the action causing the loss must stop. But again all vetoes are immediately followed by renegotiation to modify the plan of action so that loss can be eliminated, and action can continue.