Alex Barker, PharmD
Alex Barker, PharmD
Alex Barker is the founder of The Happy PharmD, which helps pharmacists create an inspiring career, break free from the mundane "pill-flipping" life. He is a Full-time Pharmacist, Media Company founder, franchise owner, Business Coach, Speaker, and Author. He's also the Founder of Pharmacy School HQ, which helps students get into pharmacy school and become residents.

Synergy in Pharmacy

AUGUST 22, 2016
This is the sixth part of an 8-part series called “7 Habits of Highly Effective Pharmacists.”
 
At one time or other, I’m sure you’ve been part of a team that wasn’t working cohesively, and I’m sure it wasn’t fun. Even if there isn’t a problem person, there can be times when everyone seems to be doing their own thing and it just isn’t coming together.

It’s no secret that it’s tough to work with others, especially those who have different perspectives or beliefs than you. I can recall some situations where I wasn’t a very good team member because I was relying on someone else or bringing the team down. 

What Synergy Means
A lot of pharmacists can probably identify with the word “synergy.” The basic definition is the cooperation of 2 or more parties to produce a combined effect greater than the sum of their separate ones.

This is the essence of principle-centered leadership. Whether or not you acknowledge it, you’re a leader in your workplace because you influence everyone around you, for bad or for good. 

Synergy unleashes our greatest powers. It takes the motive of win-win and the skills of empathetic communication and helps you tackle life’s toughest challenges. We use synergy by respecting our differences, building on strengths, and compensating for weaknesses.

Synergy in the Workplace 
This is difficult to achieve because everyone has to be open and trusting. Here’s a good example from my experience.
My team was experiencing a lot of miscommunication, and it really affected our effectiveness. It even affected patient care and the way we related to management. 

To help solve the problem, we did a communication exercise with a facilitator. I know that sounds like one of those work things you hate, but I didn’t have that perspective, and neither did my team members.

We started off with a personality exercise where we talked about ourselves and how we see things. We covered certain situations that happened and our reasoning behind them. In doing so, we became more open and understanding.
 
It was a win-win scenario because we aired out the things that had aggravated us. We were able to talk about our mistakes and seek others’ understanding. After a few of these exercises, we did so much better because we understood our fellow team members.

The Best Kind of Synergy
Synergy works bests when something is being created.

Here’s a great example: I meet weekly with a friend of mine to go over our goals and hold each other accountable. We talk about where we fail, and then we push each other to grow. Because of this, we’re going to do a conference together this year. I never would’ve dreamed of doing it by myself, and that’s another sign of synergy: when your team creates solutions you’d never anticipate alone.

Experiencing Synergy
In the last post, we talked about ethos, pathos, and logos. After you establish all 3, synergy can happen, as it involves trust, openness, and the willingness to change and understand someone else.

Unfortunately, synergy is a habit that some will never experience because it has to do with the kind of individuals you surround yourself with. When you’re surrounded by those who are only at work to get a paycheck, it’s very difficult to achieve synergy. 

This may sound like the victim mindset, but I believe you’re the average of your 5 closest friends, 5 closest coworkers, or 5 individuals you hang out with most. If you can raise your “average” by changing careers or who you hang out with, that’s a great place to start creating synergy.



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