Launch Leadership Development is continuing the study of “The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People” by Stephen Covey

So far, we have covered the first five habits. Habits 1-3 build a solid foundation for independence.

Habit #1 Be Proactive

Habit #2 Begin with the End in Mind

Habit #3 Put First Things First

Habits 4-6 focus on building interdependence.

Habit #4 Think Win/win

Habit #5 Seek First to Understand, Then to Be Understood

Today we are focusing on Habit #6: Synergy. We will answer these questions:

  • What does synergy mean?
  • What is the benefit of practicing synergy?

Synergy can be explained in several ways:

  • Creative cooperation of both parties to come to a new solution that is better than anything any one side has proposed
  • The whole is greater than the sum of the parts
  • Chemistry between people that makes them better together
  • Compromise is not synergy. 1 + 1 = 2. Synergy is 1 + 1 = greater than 2

When people or groups need a solution to a problem, sometimes it appears that there can only be a win/lose situation, but as we learned in habit 4, if both parties believe a win/win is possible, they can draw on each of their different experiences/strengths/ideas and come up with a new alternative that is even better.  THAT is synergy, my friend!

An example would be if two departments are trying to come up with a fundraiser for charity. One side wants to do what they’ve always done: a silent auction. The other side wants to have a casino night party. The groups meet and listen carefully to WHY each group believes their idea is best. The first group likes tradition and feels their big doners expect and like the silent auction. They already have consistent donations for great prizes. The group wanting the casino night wants to liven up the event, do something new and exciting. After really understanding the other side, innovative ideas are proposed until one feels right to everyone- have a live auction party/dance with not only prizes, but auction fun activities like pies in the face, and dances with single local celebrities. It’s not a compromise because the casino idea did not make it into the new plan. But now a fun, live event that both groups are excited about is in the works.

The benefits of synergy are many:

  • The parties involved are unified and the relationships strengthened
  • The results are better than any of their individual proposals
  • Confidence is built within the groups for future situations
  • Once synergy is practiced, people see the value in using it in every area of their life- work, family, friends, organizations

Habits 4-6 are interrelated and used together result in fantastic solutions to problems. Try practicing synergy by first believing a win/win solution is possible and seeking to understand why the other person believes their option is best. From there, you both can brainstorm a new, fresh idea that is more amazing than what either of you imagined. Believe it!

-Jan Jones

For more ideas on synergy, check out this video!