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Reut Schwartz-Hebron
Reut Schwartz-Hebron
President and thought leader of KeyChange Institute ( Key Change Institute is a national organization that provides groundbreaking performance improvement and business execution consulting services rooted in brain science and experience-based learning.


Posted in Business / Strategy / Innovation

Synthesis vs. Analysis, and other prerquisite strategies

Oct. 25, 2011 10:27 am
Keywords: None

The way Steven saw it, innovation was a cultural foundation for his organization, not just a creative effort that was related to a specific project or problem. “Our goals for the process we are building in the organization are to minimize the rejection of new ideas and increase focus on applicability...” (Executive VP of regional Innovation, telecom industry)

Steven believed that teams were too quick to dismiss new ideas; that they often wanted to invest in a purist way instead of trying to combine older ideas; that they were often lacking focus, getting too fascinated with the process instead of focusing on the purpose at hand. He believed it was not a skills issue, but that these aspects were directly related to the organizational culture.

In looking at a variety of different perspectives, patterns and symptoms in this organization, the strategy that tied up all the ends was one we call synthesis vs. analysis. Teams that use this strategy effectively can quickly switch between an open, exploratory mode of discovery and an analytical, linear, organized approach on and off throughout a project. While most people choose analysis or synthesis because they are more comfortable with one or the other, teams who use this strategy switch effectively between synthesis and analysis. By doing so, they select when to use each mode based on the type of challenge they are working on rather than by the type of approach they are more comfortable with.

In math certain "strategies" are a prerequisite for other "strategies." Children can not typically grasp multiplication and division before they have been acquainted with addition and subtraction. The same thing applies when it comes to the strategies teams can apply. Teams that have not yet established strategies such as synthesis vs. analysis do not have access to more advanced strategies, like systemic thinking or core analysis.

Imagine trying to teach a sales team who does know how to use synthesis vs. analysis to listen and be present. If the team is in analysis mode during a sale, salespeople may try to teach the client, through a linear step-by-step process, why the product/service is right for them. Salespeople who are mainly using synthesis, on the other hand, may be so associative that they may tell too many stories and pull the conversation in too many directions, losing the client along the way. Without synthesis vs. analysis, certain teams won't be able to acquire listening skills.

For Steven’s team, practicing synthesis vs. analysis was transformational, “The program was exciting and it was wonderful to discover something we can easily do differently to increase innovation, which is one of our organizational goals. Managers have changed their approach and are much more tolerating of thought through failure and there is much more goal driven experimentation going on. Overall, it has been a great success.” (Executive VP of regional Innovation, telecom industry)

Which prerequisite strategies are blocking your team from acquiring needed skills and making needed adjustments?

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