The Seven Habits of Highly Effective People by Stephen R. Covey is a classic. I read it first more than 30 years ago and it had an impact on my approach. I recommend you read it. It has timeless ideas and perspectives. Nothing old school about it.
I got to listen to the Habits afresh the other day. A student was giving a presentation on the model.
Habit Six is Synergize. Synergy is a term thrown around a good bit but simply put it means that “1+1” can add up to more than 2.
We are kind of designed to know that synergy is possible. In old times, people who teamed up survived the wilderness better than going it alone. Families are based on the idea of synergy. “It takes a village to raise a child” is synergistic. Teams working together to achieve better results and conquer other teams are synergistic.
According to Covey, effective people enter every situation looking for synergies and expecting to discover them. That seems reasonable but, if you reflect upon it, that’s not how everybody approaches things.
Many of us enter situations trying to figure out how we can take charge, gain power, and do what we want to do. Our first thought isn’t to figure out what other resources are on hand. Covey asserts that effective people regard synergy as an article of faith. The highly effective person enters the room searching for synergies. The effective person knows what he/she brings to the equation and has the confidence and humility to put showing off aside. One of the best things an effective person can do is to increase the visibility of the group’s skills and abilities.
Once the benefits/strengths are apparent, the effective person takes a role in making sure they are used to the full and best extent. I’m not skilled at many things, but one of the things I am skilled at is assessing the competence of others. The more I understand what others are capable of doing, the more I can focus on my own skills and do more of what I’m good at doing.
Effective people look for synergy, expect to find it, and put it to work. Over time, the habitual behavior of discovering and deploying synergy works. Synergistic people are known as effective people.
What about you? Is synergy top of mind for you?