Habit 6: Synergize

The Whole is Greater than the Sum of its Parts

There’s a reason why some of the best solutions come from collaboration with others.
Think about it. TV shows and movie scripts are hashed out in a writer’s room. An author writes a book, but the manuscript goes through rounds and rounds of editing and proofreading before the book is published. New products made by Apple, Google, Facebook and Amazon are conceived, imagined, discussed, and problem-solved in teams before the final versions are released.
When we combine forces with others, our creativity truly is boundless. This is Habit 6: Synergize. It builds in particular on Habits 4 and 5 (Think Win-Win and Seek First to Understand; for more on previous habits from THE 7 HABITS OF HIGHLY EFFECTIVE PEOPLE, it’s all on my blog: http://pxlme.me/2gLl6y5A). To get a chance at synergy — the intangible feeling of flow, of magical creation-from-scratch — you need to have an abundant, collaborative attitude, a strong sense of your own voice and values, and a penchant for listening and understanding others.
The main point Covey makes with regard to synergy is the importance of appreciating differences. You won’t get exponential results if you surround yourself with people who think exactly like you, have all the same strengths, have similar personalities and worldviews. It’s certainly easier and more peaceful to seek familiarity. But to get synergy, you have to be willing to wade into what can feel like threatening waters and open yourself up to what others have to offer.
Habit 6 is not just for entrepreneurs. Think about your family. Sometimes when there’s a problem (i.e. no one can agree on what to do on a Saturday afternoon), if you can all sit down and hash out the possibilities and what people are thinking and feeling, a new option emerges — one that everyone can get excited about. But in order to do this, you have to MAKE SPACE for everyone’s perspective. You have to set aside your own rigid ideas about what needs to happen and how so that you can consider your partner’s ideas and feelings, and your children’s. It’s work! But it is amazing how this process can pull a brand new idea seemingly out of nowhere, and then the energy behind it is aligned, setting you up for a great day.
Covey says that you know you’re in synergy when you:
💜  Have a change of heart
💥  Feel new energy and excitement
🤔  See things in a new way
👩‍❤️‍👩 F eel that the relationship has transformed
🎇  End up with an idea or a result that is better than what either of you started with (a new alternative)
I realized in reading the chapter on Habit 6 that this is part of why I am so passionate about group workshops and group therapy. When you throw a bunch of people together, what gets created is so much bigger and more powerful than what each brings to the mix on their own. It’s almost beyond words, what I experience in group therapy settings. It feels like magic. It’s so poignant, so powerful, so compelling that it draws me in, makes me lose track of time, restores my faith in humans and our capacity to care for and learn from each other.
Tomorrow will be the last in my series on the 7 HABITS! In the meantime, if you want to get in touch, shoot me an e-mail at [email protected].