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Pastorpreneur and Creative Risk Taker for the Kingdom of God

Organizational Types & Synergy

There are many different types of organizations, all with various structures and missions. In each of those organizations, there is a desire for achieving synergy. Let’s first talk about what synergy is:

Synergy is when the total energy in a system is increased because of alignment.  When synergy happens, energy goes exponential.  Synergy is multiplication rather than addition.

I believe our culture has a longing to be in synergy and alignment.  As people connect with organizations, often they must first believe in the potential of an idea, second belong to a community of likeminded people pursuing a similar vision, and third become what they have always dreamed but never previously believed possible

So, what are some basic type of organizations?:

A Foundation Organization (or Platform) is a framework of knowledge, skill, and foundation from which multiple enterprises can be launched.  Think operating system.  Think MasterCard and Visa processing systems. Think UPS supply chain management.  Think Amazon and Web Services.  If you build the platform, you MUST believe that your primary role is to serve platform participants and that you can help them achieve their respective visions.  Platforms rise and fall based on trust. When I think of platforms, I often think of “foundation” organizations…these organizations give “launch” permission for visions and futures.

A Network Organization is a system of communication, protocols, process, and relationship to further the mutual interests of its participants.  Most networks occur because of shared vision that brings people together in a positive and mutually supportive association.  Think AAA.  Think AARP.  Networks establish protocols and process to insure that transparency and mutual support occur with predictability.  Networks rise and fall based on trust.

An Umbrella Organization is an organization established to help provide “cover” for a number of smaller initiatives or activities, all of which share a similar mission and trajectory. Often it is helpful to think of the Umbrella Organization as a “nation” and the various sub-organizations or activities as “tribes”. Alignment comes by careful values and priority descriptors.

Chaordic Organizations operate with the fundamental truths that Dee Hauck (founder and first CEO of the VISA organization) articulated that comprise the combination of chaos and order.  Chaordic organizations voluntarily choose to participate where there is little control but maximum cooperation.  Cooperation keeps order and chaos in tension.  Chaordic organizations rise and fall based on trust.

Some organizations are, of course, types of each of the above and can be an admixture of several. The challenge of synergy is to see organizational participant and aggregated energies aligned to maximize accomplishment of mission and shared values.


President of Jessup University (, speaker and author of books on leadership and transformation

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