At his best, Usain Bolt ran the 100m in a world record breaking time of 9.58 seconds! No one has ever come close. However, the Jamaican 4X100m relay team composed of Bolt and 3 somewhat slower athletes hold the world record at 37.04 seconds – an average of 9.26 seconds for every 100m ran! This is humanly impossible for every individual we know. But how is this possible? One word- Synergy!
On this installment of our journey through the 7 Habits of Highly Effective People, Carol Naneu shares Habit no. 6 – SYNERGIZE!
The habit of synergy celebrates different strengths and differences, instead of the competitive either/or mindset. Synergy makes us focus on the creative both/ and mindset. Synergize is the habit of creative corporation where all partners greatly profit from experiences because we can create more value together than we can individually.
Here’s to your financial independence!
HABIT 6: SYNERGIZE – The Habit of Creative Cooperation
Six people were trapped by circumstance in dreary and bitter cold in a forest. Each one possessed a stick of wood, or so the story is told. Luckily there was a fire, but dying in need of logs. The first man held his wood back because among the faces round the fire, one was of a different race. The next man looking across the way, saw one was of a different religion and he couldn’t bring himself to give the fire his stick of wood. The third one sat in tattered clothes. He gave his coat a hold up. “Why should my log be put to use to warm an idle rich man?” The rich man just sat back and thought of the wealth he had in store, and how to keep what he had earned from the lazy suspicious poor. The first man’s face bespoke hate as the fire passed from his sight for all he saw in his stick of wood was a chance to spite the one from a different race. The last man in this pitiful group did nothing, except for gain because he gives only to those who give, that’s how he plays the game. Their logs held tight, in death’s still hands and in the end they all died, not from the cold without but they died from the cold within.
Habit 6 is about having the humility to recognize that our own approaches on the world are not necessarily the best ones – they can be limiting and So rather than stubbornly sticking to our idea of how to approach something, consider consulting others, listening to understand the basis of their ideas, asking them to listen to ours and together working on a truly synergistic way forward. New ideas will flow and as the saying goes ‘the whole will be greater than the sum of the parts’.
To put it simply, synergy means “two heads are better than one.” Synergize is the habit of creative cooperation. It is teamwork, open-mindedness, and the adventure of finding new solutions to existing problems. But it doesn’t just happen on its own. It’s a process, and through that process, people bring all their personal experience and expertise to the table. Together, they produce far better results than they could individually. Synergy lets people discover jointly things they are much less likely to discover by themselves. It is the idea that one plus one equals three, or ten, or sixty–you name it.
What would have been the case, if the six people trapped in the forest would have instead begun to interact together genuinely, and had been open to each other’s influence, they would have gained new insights I suppose. The capability of inventing tactics would have increased exponentially because of their differences. Valuing differences is what really drives synergy. The bigger the initial difference that separates, the more consequential the synergy and the payoff will be.
Is it logical that two people can disagree and both be right? It is not logical, it is psychological.
There are three approaches that people often take in a situation. The first approach (The Shunner). The Shunner is afraid of differences, difference disturbs them in every way e.g. skin color, clothing, tribe, religion etc. The shunner believes that their style is the best and ever would be. They even make fun of people that are different from them. This was the profile of the first and second man in the cold forest.
The second approach (The Tolerator). The Tolerator believes that everyone has a right to be different. They don’t shone people who are a bit different. Their motto; Keep to yourself, I’ll keep to myself, Do your thing, I’ll do mine. Don’t bother me, I won’t bother you. Back in the forest, most of the trapped guys had this profile.
The third approach (The Celebrator). The Celebrator values differences. They see being different as a good thing or as an advantage. They believe that thinking different is good because then if put together, it brings a better result, a third alternative. This is the fundamental profile for synergy.
When we learn to apply the concepts of synergy, we learn to overcome any obstacles and problems become a source of pleasure and challenge. By opening our minds to the perspectives that others can bring we can enrich our options and experiences.
So here’s a question for you… Do you truly value the mental, emotional, and psychological differences among other people? Your friends, family, colleagues etc. Or do you wish everyone would just agree with you so you could all get along? Many people mistake uniformity for unity; sameness for oneness. One word – boring!!! Differences should be seen as strengths, not weaknesses. They add zest to life”.