Take a look at job descriptions and "help wanted" ads for managers. You'll see some form of "able to analyze____" in almost every one.
Analysis is both important and useful. Here's the potential problem: a strong tendency to focus only on breaking down issues in order to analyze their parts can lead to missing insights into improvements and opportunities. Instead, these come from looking at the situation or system as a whole.
Synthesis is more than putting things back together again after you’ve taken them apart: It’s understanding how things work together. (Wordle is a fun example of a tool that offers a visual result of synthesis).
Analytical thinking enables us to understand the parts of the situation. Synthesis enables us to understand how they work together.
Managers who coach have an opportunity to develop systemic thinking in their groups. A few good questions:
1. "If we broke this down into its smallest parts, what would they be?"
2. "Now that we can see them, how do they work together?"
3. "How could we do something differently to make 'it' work even better?"
We have opportunities every day to use real-life situations to help our employees, colleagues, and kids learn to analyze and synthesize. Use some variation of those three questions regularly--people will get it.