I find it significant that of all his 7 Habits of Highly Effective People, Stephen Covey calls Habit #6 – Synergize – the miracle habit. In doing so, he emphasizes its importance. He says:
“When properly understood, synergy is the highest activity in all life — the true test and manifestation of all of the other habits put together. The highest forms of synergy focus the four unique human endowments, the motive of Win/Win, and the skills of empathic communication on the toughest challenges we face in life. What results is almost miraculous. We create new alternatives — something that wasn’t there before.”
Covey defines synergy as:
” …producing a third alternative – not my way, not your way, but a third way that is better than either of us would come up with individually. It’s the fruit of mutual respect – of understanding and even celebrating one another’s differences in solving problems, seizing opportunities. Synergistic teams and families thrive on individual strengths so that the whole becomes greater than the sum of the parts. Such relationships and teams renounce defensive adversarialism (1+1=1/2). They don’t settle on compromise (1+1= 1 ½ or merely cooperation (1+1=2). They go for creative cooperation (1+1=3 or more).”
The vast majority of you reading this have at some time in your life, been involved with a team. It could have been a sports team, a musical group, the cast of a play – or maybe you worked on a group project. Whether you were aware of it or not, you most likely learned the value of teamwork.
My friend, Robert Cooper, lists synergy at #3 in his 5 Hallmarks of the Greatest Leaders in the World. He calls it “Finding Leverage.” Leverage makes lifting something that would be impossible to lift by yourself, possible. Synergy, the whole is greater than the sum of its parts, makes actions in your business, personal or family life, that you thought impossible…POSSIBLE.