Team work

7 Habits of Highly Effective People - Habit Six

By Awah | Leadership | 3 May 2020

7 Habits Overview

The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People is a book written by Steven Covey that I have introduced in previous posts. Reading the earlier posts will help gain a better understanding of some of the terms used here.

The first three habits are about taking control of our own lives as part of our journey to become more effective. Covey calls them, "private victories" as they are inward-looking to ourselves. They help us move from being dependent to independent thinking people. The next three habits are "public victories" and help us move from being independent to interdependent. Habit 6 is the last of these public victories and is the ultimate step for us to become truly interdependent.

Prelude to Habit 6

To illustrate the essence of Habit 6, I am going to start with a short story.

The rainforest was humid and the light was streaking through the breaks in the leaves. "Let's leave for hunting now before the sun starts rising too high" said Mukashe.

He knew that they needed to go now and he needed all the young men with him so that they could trap their prey. He didn't like leaving his wife, Yarima, behind but he trusted that the villagers would look after each other whilst the hunting party was out.

"Davi, you take your men down the bottom of the valley and drive the boar towards us. We will have a trap ready."

Hunting required good teamwork.

Habit 6 - Synergize

This is perhaps the most powerful of all the habits because it is the essence of how we have built society. Since the time we were caveman, we learnt that by hunting in groups we could be more successful and it was hugely beneficial to leave our wives and children with others, where they weren't raped, killed or all our possessions stolen. "Synergize" is about cooperation and teamwork. It requires us to be open-minded about finding new solutions which are better than solutions based on our own limited experience.

"Synergy is better than my way or your way. It's our way."

Dr. Stephen R. Covey

Hands Together - Source: Pexels

Understanding Synergy

To really value Synergy, we need to appreciate that having differences in opinions, is a strength. Someone famous once said, if two people are in a meeting with the same opinion, one of them is redundant. Diversity is a strength because it brings together opinions based on different experiences and perspectives. If you surround yourself with people who all have the same opinion as you, then you will not learn and grow.

Diversity - Source: Pexels

Many people will believe this is what they already do but Covey suggests that that isn't the case. He claims we have been conditioned into being defensive and protective over our viewpoints. Even within our families, with our husbands, wives and children, we push to get our viewpoint across without opening ourselves up. Opening ourselves up takes courage, personal security and true spirit of adventure.

Synergistic Win/Win

"Synergy is not the same as compromise. In a compromise, one plus one equals one and a half at best."

Dr. Stephen R. Covey

Synergy takes more than just looking for the Win/Win solution as Win/Win is really a compromise. Synergy is looking for the "middle way" and it takes a higher degree of trust and a higher degree of cooperation.

The Path to Synergy

To achieve synergy we need to value the differences we have with others. This works by first applying Habit 5, listen to understand and also then reflect on Habit 2, but taking your goal and the goals of others together. Then, if we are willing, we can find a new way that satisfies both ends but using the best of both opinions.

Path to synergy - Source: Franklin-Covey

You will know when you have achieved synergy by these signs:

  • You will feel new excitement and energy
  • You will notice a change in heart
  • You will feel that your relationship has been transformed
  • You will end up with a result that is better than either party ever imagined possible

Next Post

We have now covered the journey to becoming interdependent. In the next post, we will look at Habit 7 which is the final habit.


Note: originally posted by me on Hive.  Images sourced from Pexels.

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