The late Dr. Stephen Covey synthesized the common patterns in the leaders he studied and worked with in his 1989 best-seller, 7 Habits of Highly Effective People.
At the core of his message is the belief that the way we see the world is entirely based on our own perceptions. In order to change any given situation, we must change ourselves. And, in order to change ourselves, we must be able to change our perceptions.
Put simply, in the context of this crisis:
In order to change/improve the state of things during this crisis, we must change/improve ourselves first.
In order to change/improve ourselves, we must change/improve our perceptions.
“The way we see the problem is the problem.”
To undergo a paradigm shift and upgrade ourselves fundamentally, we must go beyond the surface level and alter our behavior for the long-term.
This is where the habits (7) come in:
- Be Proactive
- Begin with the End in Mind
- Put First Things First
- Think Win-Win
- Seek First to Understand, Then to Be Understood
- Sharpen the Saw
The combination of all the other habits, especially Thinking Win-Win and Seeking First to Understand, prepare us for Synergy. This is when one plus one equals three or more and the whole is greater than the sum of its parts.
To synergize is fundamentally to come together, join forces, create solutions and produce remarkable Results that you wouldn’t really be able to achieve unless you were so aligned.
One of the largest, strongest horses in the world is the Belgian draft horse. A full-grown Belgian can often pull 8,000 pounds by itself. Now, if you put two Belgian draft horses, who are strangers to each other, in the harness – together, they will pull 20,000-24,000 pounds. Two are not pulling twice as much, but three times much.
What if the two horses are raised and trained together so they learn to pull and think as one?
The trained, and therefore unified, pair can pull 30,000-32,000 pounds – almost four times as much as a single horse!
Together we go further.
Synergy is created by valuing the differences in another person’s perspective, getting away from being on opposite sides of the problem and moving into a position where you’re together on one side, looking at the problem, understanding all the needs and working to create a solution that will meet them.
It’s about creatively creating solutions so both sides get what they want and build their relationship in the process.
“If two people have the same opinion, one is unnecessary. When we become aware of someone’s different perspective, we can say, “Good! You see it differently! Help me see what you see.”
Think of someone you know who has a radically different world view from you.
What is one thing you can appreciate about that person?
What is the main motivation for their perspective?
The better you can understand them, the more effective you can be in potentially changing their mind or influencing them positively.
Think of a deal where both you and the merchant were very far apart at the beginning but you were able to eventually synergize and get the deal done.
What conditions were met to overcome the differences and reach such fluidity?
Stay cool, stay safe.