Synergize? Habit #6 of '7 Habits of Highly Effective People'
Habit 6: Synergize from The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People*, is a unifying habit of Stephen R. Covey’s 3 Personal Habits (Habits 1 – Habits 3), and his 2 Interdependent habits (Habits 4 and Habits 5). Stephen R. Covey confirms this within the Habit 6 chapter by writing, “the true test and manifestation of all of the other habits put together.”
What does synergize mean within the context of Time Management and The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People*?
Think of synergize as collaboration – about not wasting time and resources in competition. Synergy is what happens when two or more people / departments / companies / countries choose to work together in an open, trusting and beneficial relationship. Synergy is where different entities see each other’s differences as unique opportunities.
To put it simply, synergy means 'two heads are better than one'. Together, our differences can produce far better results in less time and at less cost than we could individually.
Lets be honest that as we move through our daily routines individual differences and goals often create barriers. Our societies condition us to compete. But, when it comes to synergy we begin to re-learn… recondition ourselves to celebrate our differences goals; we learn to exploit (in a good way), our own uniqueness and to work together to discover mutually beneficial solutions.
We Don't Have To Be Best Friends
Embracing differences does not mean we all have to become best friend, but it does mean each contributor must remain open to the different ideas, values, goals and feelings of others. When we are open to someone else's influence we begin to gain new insight and learning (personal growth). Even when challenges arise, the right leadership helps collaborative team members provide space for each other to safely share, challenge and question.
Valuing differences is what makes synergize possible.
Differences are what make us powerful. For example: When two people have different experience / education and when they learn to embrace / respect each others differences and work together, what they create will be greater than what each individual could create on their own. Being motivated to look for new opportunities – to stretch – to compromise – to work toward a Win/Win solution (Stephen R. Covey’s Habit 4), is to synergize and follow the framework of Habit 6!
When I give my Time Management Training one of the lessons I teach is that when people don't trust each other they approach challenges as Win/Lose (if you win then I must have to lose). When people trust each other and combine their talents and think Win/Win, they will find a unique, mutually beneficial solution.
When synergy is working, knowledge, experience, individual differences, trust and mutual respect of each persons' potential becomes a uniting and powerful force.
Synergize is a difficult habit for many of us. We are brought up learning to compete - and this wastes time, energy and resources. This is changing with the Millennial and Gen Z generations which are generally much more collaborative and friendly in their work approach.
Creative cooperation builds on each other’s strengths as the goal. These differences may be education, experience, hierarchy, or age. And to also embrace the value of gender, ethnic and cultural differences. All differences add to the energy – differences add to the synergy that is possible when we keep open minds and think collaboratively.
Even in a disagreement, creativity can flourish. And, even if there are circumstances in which the project fails, the spirit of collaboration will usually result in a more effective relationships being formed.
What's habit 7? 'Sharpen The Saw' - which is about self-enrichment, staying current and looking for opportunities for you and your team to grow.
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