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What is a synergizer?

The synergizer can be seen as a kind of discussion leader, process supervisor, trajectory counselor, or independent chairman, who specializes in communication and relationships. Various tools are used to help optimize collaboration. I ask questions that matter and translate what is said, so that the message can be received more easily by the other person(s). Some questions are purely about the relational aspect of the collaboration. Other questions are based on the COSO method from a control framework perspective. This can be useful, for example, if it is not entirely clear that the collaboration is not running smoothly. As a synergizer, I am an independent and impartial third party, who does not give advice or share my own opinion. I believe in the power of the parties that they know best what they need and what works for them. If necessary, NLP skills can be used to help break through obstructive patterns.

How is a Synergizer different from a Scrum Master?

A Scrum Master is an essential part of a Scrum team under the Agile framework. The main goal of the Scrum Master is to guide the team to become more productive, self-organized and efficient within the Scrum framework. They perform several roles similar to that of a synergizer, such as:

1. Removing Barriers: The Scrum Master identifies and removes barriers or obstacles that may prevent the team from working effectively. They help solve problems and ensure that the team can work without hindrance.​

2. Facilitate communication: They promote open communication between all members of the team, the product owner and any other stakeholders. This includes organizing meetings and promoting collaboration.​

3. Improving the process: They support the team in continuously improving their work process and performance through regular retrospectives.

The biggest difference between a Scrum Master and a Synergizer is the way the above topics are tackled. 

Similarities between a Scrum Master and a Synergizer:

  1. Facilitation: Both functions have a facilitation role. They help promote effective communication and collaboration among team members and stakeholders.

  2. Conflict Management: Both a Scrum Master and a Synergizer can be involved in resolving conflicts/irritations and removing obstacles that may hinder progress.

  3. Guidance: Both roles guide those involved to reach an agreement, whether solving a problem within a team or reaching consensus in decision-making.

  4. Neutrality: Both the Scrum Master and the Synergizer serve as neutral parties and strive to find solutions that are in the best interest of the team or those involved.

Differences between a Scrum Master and a Synergizer:

  1. Context: A Scrum Master is specifically focused on supporting a Scrum team and guiding the Agile work process, while a Synergizer focuses on facilitating friction smoothing and negotiations between individuals or groups.

  2. Scope: The role of a Scrum Master is limited to the Scrum process and involvement with the team and the product owner. A Synergizer can be involved in different types of irritations or issues, both on a personal and professional level.

  3. Objective: The primary task of a Scrum Master is to promote successful application of the Scrum framework and support the team to become more productive. The aim of a mediator is to help parties reach agreement or find solutions to their disputes.

How does a synergizer differ from a confidant?

There are some similarities between a synergizer and a counselor, but they also have important differences in their roles and responsibilities.

Similarities between a synergizer and a confidential counselor:

  1. Confidentiality: Both a synergizer and a confidential counselor deal with confidential information. In both cases, they are expected to exercise discretion and respect the privacy of those involved.

  2. Listening and supporting: Both synergizers and counselors are skilled at active listening and providing emotional support to those they work with.

  3. Conflict management: Both roles may be involved in helping to resolve conflicts/irritations, albeit in different contexts. Synergizers focus on mediating and facilitating irritations between two or more parties, while confidants focus on providing support and advice to individuals dealing with interpersonal problems.

Differences between a synergizer and a confidant:

  1. Scope of involvement: A synergizer is involved in irritations between two or more parties and strives to reach a joint agreement or solution. A confidential counselor focuses on individuals who need confidential support and guidance.

  2. Scope of influence: A counselor is often focused on providing support and advice to individuals within a specific context, such as at work. A synergizer can focus on promoting synergy and collaboration in a broader sense, such as within teams or between departments.

  3. Skills deployed: While a confidential counselor often focuses on listening, supporting and referring people, a synergizer uses other specific skills to prevent irritations, smooth friction, and mediate.

How does a synergizer differ from a mediator in pre-mediation?

Synergizing is very similar to preventive mediation, which is also called pre-mediation. In preventive mediation, the mediator focuses on preventing conflict escalation and promoting constructive communication between parties before the conflict escalates to a high level of tension.

The purpose of preventive mediation is to promote a healthy productive work environment, strengthen relationships and constructively address conflicts before they have harmful consequences for individuals and organizations. It helps organizations to proactively deal with conflict and promote a culture of cooperation and understanding. A synergizer does that too, but also uses other skills.

Similarities between a synergizer and mediator in preventive mediation:

  1. Facilitating communication: Both functions can help create an open and safe communication environment where people can speak freely and express their concerns without fear of repercussions. Both are an independent and impartial facilitator of conversation.

  2. Identifying potential conflicts: Both functions, together with the parties involved, can identify potential sources of tension and conflict before they actually occur.

  3. Support collaboration: Both functions can organize group activities aimed at promoting collaboration, team building and understanding between the parties involved.

  4. Promoting understanding: Both functions can help promote mutual understanding and empathy between the parties involved so that misunderstandings can be avoided.

  5. Teaching skills: Both functions can provide training or workshops to teach communication skills, conflict resolution methods and stress management, leaving people better equipped to deal with future conflicts.

  6. Developing policies and procedures: Both functions can help develop policies and procedures within organizations that can proactively prevent conflicts and address them in a timely manner.

  7. Recognizing warning signs: Both functions can make involved parties aware of warning signs that may indicate potential conflicts so that they can be addressed early.

Differences between a synergizer and mediator in pre-mediation:

  1. A mediator focuses on preventing and resolving conflicts, while a synergizer focuses on improving cooperation and promoting synergy between individuals or teams. 

  2. Another name for a similar role creates a more positive association. With a mediator one often has the feeling that there is (almost) conflict and prefers to stay away from "problems". A synergizer also plays an important role in preventing conflicts, but rather calls it smoothing out friction around irritations, to lower the threshold for seeking help. 

  3. A synergizer uses - in addition to the above-mentioned communication skills and mediation framework - other tools. The COSO control framework can be used if it is not completely clear what is causing the collaboration to not run smoothly. If necessary, NLP skills can be used to help break through obstructive patterns.

How does synergizing work?

  • It starts with an intake, during which the guidelines for synergizing are signed. The signing is also symbolic, because in this way you commit that we will do something different with synergizing than you have tried before. That mindset influences the further course of the process. 

  • Everyone then gets the opportunity to tell their story. If it is not clear what is causing the collaboration to be difficult, I use techniques from a control framework perspective, among other things. 

  • As soon as it is clear where the problem lies, I focus on the interests and wishes. 

  • Possible options are then generated and you choose a specific solution. 

  • The agreements are ultimately recorded.   

Why is a control framework model relevant for talking about collaboration?

The control framework model that I use is based on the COSO method. COSO (Committee of Sponsoring Organizations) is an organization that provides guidelines and frameworks for internal control, risk management and corporate governance.


COSO has different versions. I use a fairly compact version to make it easier to apply to optimize collaboration. The following components are discussed: i) Control environment; ii) Risk assessment; iii) Control activities; iv) Information & communication; v) Monitoring. 


It is important to see this framework as a foundation for a conversation about collaboration. It is possible that cooperation does not run smoothly due to mutual irritations. But the irritations may, for example, be related to role ambiguity (component 1) and information exchange (component 4). By involving such topics, you can have a more effective conversation about what may be going wrong, where there is room for improvement, and what steps can be taken. 

What are the most important  guidelines of synergizing?

  • Confidentiality.

  • Voluntariness, so without commitment synergizing is not appropriate.

  • Independence and impartiality synergizer.

  • Party Autonomy: I believe you are fully capable of coming up with what solutions would work for you. That is why I do not give advice, but I do use various techniques to guide you through the process, so that options are put on the table. As a result, no substantive expertise on my part is required.

  • Focus on interests instead of positions.

What is the target group of synergizing?

  1. Senior Management, i.e. within and/or between European Management Team and Global Management Team;

  2. Senior Management and his/her direct reports, or head of a department;

  3. Head of a department and his/her team members;

  4. Between members within the same team;

  5. Between departments, involving different teams.

  6. Supervisory Board

  7. Boardroom advice: Strategic guidance and advice to avoid failure risks and increase support for major decisions.

  8. Startups

  9. Transformations

  10. Change management projects

When would I use a synergizer in the business sphere?

A synergizer can be used in an accessible manner to discuss irritations, disagreements or wishes in a constructive manner. People sometimes wrongly have the feeling that a mediator is only deployed when the next step is to go to court. That is why the step towards a synergizer may be easier to take. It is a kind of coach, but applies the proven skills and approach of a mediator, does not give advice and above all empowers the parties.

What is meant by optimization of collaboration?

When optimizing cooperation, the following situations can be considered. Collaboration within a department is already going well, but by talking about each other's needs, it can become even better. The potential for growth is utilized. Even if there are issues that need to be properly arranged within an organization and where there is a risk of failure, or in other words, a lot depends on it, and it is therefore important that everyone is on the same page. Furthermore, one may be “stuck” in a certain way of thinking and working, and it could be useful to get help so that one can look at the situation from a distance (change management). Even if departments have to work well together (stakeholder management), are dependent on each other and there may be overlap or ambiguity about the division of roles, there is room to take collaboration to a higher level.


The synergizer could be called in to facilitate the conversation about collaboration between a manager and a direct report. If things are already going well, you can brainstorm about how things could be even better.


The synergizer can perform a “health check” at an organization several times a year. Discussions can be started about how the collaboration is going and whether there is a need for guidance on certain topics. The synergizer can also be used to give conflict management workshops, to provide managers with tools to promote communication skills and prevent conflicts. The synergizer's substantive expertise is not necessary, because he/she does not become involved in the content and leaves that mainly to the parties. He/she merely facilitates the process, as is the case with mediation.

What is meant by suboptimal cooperation in the business sphere?

Optimal collaboration is essential for a company to be successful. The extent to which this is achieved is somewhat subjective. In my view, this depends on the circumstances of the case and may be the case if the best achievable results are achieved with the people and resources involved. In other words, happy employees who ensure that the company achieves even better results and there is synergy.


There may be suboptimal cooperation within an organization, while there is no conflict (yet). On the one hand, this is problematic because there is a risk that certain situations will remain dormant and ultimately result in a conflict. Even before there is a conflict, the following undesirable situations can arise. People work less efficiently/effectively or work hard in the wrong direction. That costs more money, leads to more physical and mental absenteeism (burnout) and less job satisfaction. An unpleasant culture can arise within the company, causing good people to unnecessarily leave the company (including know-how). In other words, all kinds of things that can damage the performance of a company. There is also a risk that certain situations will remain dormant and ultimately result in a conflict.


On the other hand, sub-optimal collaboration is problematic, in the event that the collaboration itself is going well, but there is room to take it to a higher level. Such a situation, in which the potential for growth is utilized, means that work can be done more efficiently/effectively, with happier employees who are willing and able to commit themselves even more to optimal collaboration. It can result in a (stronger) team feeling, where people trust each other and are willing to go through fire for each other.

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