Recently I was thinking about disruption, integration, synergy, and connections.
Nadler Modular Construction builds spaces for private industry, education, and government. Hergo Ergonomic Workspace Solutions builds … workspace solutions, of course.
So far, these businesses have been functioning as “silos”—corporate-speak for standalone units that are isolated without much information or resource sharing going on. That’s not ideal.
I think that it’s time to leverage their respective strengths, integrate them, and maybe, achieve synergy.
Synergy is a word that gets tossed around a lot. Not everyone realizes what it means, or how powerful a concept it is.
I am a big fan of Stephen Covey’s “The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People.” Regarding interpersonal relationships, the sixth habit presented by Covey is synergy.
In basic terms, synergy means that the whole is greater than the sum of its parts. Covey tells us that when properly understood, synergy is the highest activity in all of life. (We’ll get back to this subject in a future post.)
When you combine two or more agents in a synergistic way, far greater gains are achieved than they can realize on their own.
For example, the telephone network had pretty much maxed out its potential, until AT&T adapted Alexander Bain’s “Electric Printing Telegraph” to work on phone lines.
Fax machines, as their invention is commonly called, transformed the business communication process, enjoying unchallenged dominance until digital data transmission—and its offspring, the Internet—led us to today’s amazingly interconnected world.
That kind of cross-pollination and inspiration is too often missing in the office environment, where the emphasis is mostly on preserving the status quo and avoiding disruption. But the past three decades—let alone the last three months!—have emphatically proven that disruption is the fastest way to revolutionary transformation.
So, I’ve got a little disruption in mind for our enterprises.
Synergy #1: Vertical integration
I want our “furniture” business and “office space” businesses to feed off each other.
Can workstation design and supply be an integral part of the modular workspace development process? Can Hergo expand the variety of work surface and furnishings it offers without getting into a shoving match with the retail-focused office supply giants?
Right now, Hergo is strictly focused on technical racking and workbench-type products, but that’s not necessarily where we draw the line. I’m looking at strictly B2B office furnishing and business interiors companies—like MidCity Office Furniture—for inspiration. Maybe we can make offering fully furnished modular structures to clients an integral part of the modular structures sales process?
If both concerns are addressed at the earliest possible phase of a modular facility’s project visualization, Nadler and Hergo will be leveraging a natural opportunity to build a more comprehensive solution.
That’s good for customers—and great for business.
Setting that up may disrupt our well-oiled machine a little. I think it will be well worth the trouble.
Synergy #2: Horizontal integration
I want to grow our footprint into new regions.
I’m pursuing partnerships with some great people in the Midwest—hoping to set up a multicity presence that will introduce our unique sales proposition to new markets, and diversify our exposure to regional economic trends.
As we’ve seen from the novel coronavirus crisis, different parts of the country can be impacted at very different levels, impacted by different concerns, and presenting different opportunities. Expanding into new areas horizontally will not only expand our business but will insulate it from regional risks, as well.
That’s my take. What’s yours?
I’ve just described what I found after a close look at my organization(s). What about you?
Look at what your group/team/department/company brings to the table, and ask, “how can I add value?”
Can I synergize vertically by strengthening my integration with those I interact with, or by making my work product more refined and better integrated with its environment?
Can I synergize horizontally by spreading my best practices throughout the organization, making my output more universal in value, or by seeking out those qualities in other areas and integrating the lessons into my team’s product?
Can I protect my department from disruption by taking a hard look at the value I provide to the organization and being ready to make difficult changes if that value is fading?
These ideas are just starting points, so stay tuned.
BOTTOM LINE: Ironic, isn’t it: the best way to protect from disruption is to introduce a little.
Planning a little synergy of your own? Modular structures—filled with our technical workbenches—may be part of your solution. Contact us today to learn how we can help.