Chemistry or Synergy?: What's the Difference?

Doug DonofrioCorrespondent IMarch 29, 2009

When a team wins a world championship, the first thing that comes to mind is "Wow! That team has great chemistry", or "Chemistry was an integral part of their winning it all", or "That team lacks sufficient chemistry to get to the next level.

We use this word "chemistry" a little too loosely don't we?

Championship caliber teams do exhibit chemistry, and I'm not saying they don't. In fact, without it there may never be a Super Bowl winner, Stanley Cup champion, NBA champion, or World Series victor.

However, are we using this word correctly?

Team chemistry is the interrelationship between and among the psycho-social dynamics of individuals who share the same vision.

What does this mean?

It means if, as individuals, we can relate to one another harmoniously through a psycho-social parameter, therein would arise a symbiotic energy or an attraction of components to one another, thereby creating mutual oneness.

Simply put: Chemistry is the mind-personality connection among individuals.

Yes, chemistry is vital to any team looking to advance to the ultimate state of "King of The Hill", however, there is another word we may want to strongly consider using a little more in our vocabulary, and that word is "synergy".

Synergy is the rare complex phenomena defined as occuring when "the whole is greater than the sum of the individual parts" in lay terms.

It is not the interrelationship among or between individuals (chemistry), but the collective effort, combined with players' interdependence in achieving or producing a net effect. 

Ever heard of 1+2=4?

So, it seems synergy, in it's pure essence, is the task dynamic interdependent among individuals sharing the same vision, while chemistry is the psycho-social dynamic attracting and relating the mind and personality to oneness among others who share the same vision.

Both chemistry and synergy are critical elements in the process of greatness, but to be fair, let us make sure we understand that although they may seem and appear similar in thought, they are, in fact, very much different.

I leave to you, the fans, who read my articles to think deeply and answer the question's I have set forth.

Can a team win a world championship having chemistry and no synergy?

Can a team win a world championship having synergy and no chemistry?

Seek to understand the two most essential elements at play among the elite who reach the highest levels of professional team sports.