Why you’re stuck

Oct 10, 2011

One of the inviolable laws I’ve uncovered over the years is that wherever there is gridlock or compromise, there is always a non-Synergistic VOP group making it happen.You can take it to the bank – whether it’s a stalled project team, a dysfunctional board, a gridlocked congress, a bickering town committee or simply an underperforming business, at its heart there will be a triad consisting of a Visionary, an Operator and a Processor operating without an effective Synergist in sight to provide adult supervision.

This is easy enough to spot when the triad is working in close proximity, like this (as any evening spent watching your local planning committee on cable will show):

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The vops triad 1

A classic example of this which I’m particularly aware of because of my current reading (and which my fellow Brits will probably grok more than my US friends and colleagues) was the threesome who sat at the heart of British politics for over a decade: Tony Blair (Visionary), Gordon Brown (Processor) and Alastair Campbell (Operator) – as dysfunctional a triad as ever existed, held together only occasionally by Peter Mandelson (a Synergist, though an ineffectual one).

Much harder to see clearly is the situation where there are many Visionaries, Operators and Processors relating in various ways in a complex environment, like this:

…Which is precisely the situation in the US Congress at present.

In either case though, the problem is the same – if your business isn;t growing as fast as it should, or your team is operating as cohesively as it should, it’s because of a V-O-P group operating without an effective Synergist.

A short-term solution is to establish what your own style is, then grow the Synergist element.

The long-term solution is of course to train as many of your Visionaries, Operators and Processors as possible to be effective Synergists – there’s nothing more effective than a group who can all swap into Synergist mode when needed.