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-The Sixth Habit of Highly Effective People-

Synergy is the theme this month at TopFem, and it is the sixth Habit described by Stephen Covey. Literally, synergy means ‘one plus one equals three or more’, or ‘when the whole is greater than the sum of its parts’. Synergy is about understanding and valuing the differences in another person’s perspective. People can, of course, have different perspectives on the same things. If you are convinced that your perspective is the only true perspective, you will not see the other person’s perspective.

Synergy is actually the result of investing in thinking win-win (Habit 4) and seeking first to understand (Habit 5). Truly understanding the mindset of others by asking “I want to understand your perspective, help me see your perspective on this!” will get you there (Seek First to Understand). When you finally see someone else’s perspective, you will also value others’ perspectives more, which in turn will lead you both to a win-win situation (Think Win-Win).

Why is synergy so important?

Synergy allows groups of people to look for the good in others and to value differences. Synergy thereby improves one’s point of view and expands perspective. Through openness, synergy uncovers new possibilities and catalyzes creativity to find solutions that are better for everyone by looking for a third alternative.

How can we create a synergistic culture?

By starting with the mindset of Habits 4 and 5: we must think win-win and seek first to understand. It is essential to value the differences between people, such as mental, emotional, and psychological differences. Once we have these in mind, we can pool our desires with those of the other person. Then we’re not just on our side of the problem anymore, nor on the other side. Instead, we’re on both sides looking at the problem together, understanding all the needs, and working to create a third alternative.

Finally, you’ll see that synergy creates a transformation in teamwork. Both sides (you and the other person) get what they want, and build a relationship in the process. By putting forth a spirit of trust and safety, we prompt others to become extremely open, and to feed on each other’s insights and ideas, creating synergy. Although you cannot control (the perspective of) others, a great deal of synergy is within your Circle of Influence (Habit 1). You can even be synergistic in the midst of a very adversely environment by valuing the difference in people. So if you encounter an adverse situation during the coming days or weeks, try to ‘be synergistic’. When someone disagrees with you try to say for once: “Good! You see it differently. Explain this to me, because I want to see what you see.” Good luck, and we wish you well with this new challenge!

“Without doubt, you have to leave the comfort zone of base camp and confront an entirely new and unknown wilderness”

– Stephen Covey


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