S. Covey, Chap. 9, Habit 6: Synergize (Principles of Creative Cooperation)

Last Update: March 09, 2022

The meaning of "synergy": The whole is greater than the sum of its parts. The relationship which the parts have to each other is a part in itself. It happens to be the most empowering, the most unifying, and the most exciting part.

Synergistic communication means that you are opening your mind and heart and expressions to new possibilities, new alternatives, new options.

You are actually fulfilling Habit 2, because you believe that the solution you seek will be better than it was before. It is the end you have in mind.

You begin with the belief that those involved will gain more insight, and that the excitement of their mutual learning and insight will create a momentum toward more and more insights, learning, and growth.

Nearly all creative endeavors are somewhat unpredictable. They may seem ambiguous . People involved need to have a high tolerance for ambiguity and get their security from integrity to principles and inner values. However, many people have a need for structure, certainty, and predictability.

Covey says that people who have not experienced much synergy in life represent one of the great tragedies and wastes in life.

Synergy is almost as if a group collectively agrees to subordinate old scripts and to write a new one.

Mr.Covey presents a little diagram that illustrates how trust and cooperation are closely related to different levels of communication. If trust is low, cooperation is as well, and may move as far as a defensive position (win/lose or lose/win.)

As trust goes higher, so does cooperation, until halfway up the diagram, we reach a respectful, or compromise position.

At the mid-point, communication isn't defensive, protective, or angry. It is honest and genuine and respectful. But it is not creative or synergistic. It produces a low form of win/win.

Synergy means that 1 + 1 may equal 8, 16, or even 1,600. The synergistic position of high trust produces solutions better than any proposal, and all parts know it. Participants genuine enjoy the creativeness.

Mr.Covey gives an example of a husband and wife who disagree about vacation plans. The husband has planned a fishing trip that his boys really look forward to, and the wife wants to visit her ailing mother.

If this couple has cultivated habits of effective interdependence, they approach the problem with a high level of communication. They will have a high Emotional Bank Account, establishing trust and open communication.

Because they think win/win, they believe that a third alternative, a mutually beneficial solution, is possible. Because they listen empathetically and seek first to understand, they create within themselves and between themselves a comprehensive picture of the values and concerns that need to be considered.

The combination of these ingredients creates the ideal environment for synergy. Thus, they can deeply understand each other's needs, so they pool their desires; they synergize. They communicate back and forth until they come up with a solution they both feel good about.

Now they experience a transformation. They both get what they really want and they build a stronger relationship in the process.

The essence of synergy is valuing the mental, emotional, and psychological differences between people. The key to evaluating these differences is to realize that all people see the world, not as it is, but as they are.

The person who is truly effective has the humility and reverence to recognize his own perceptual limitations and to appreciate the rich resources available in interacting with others.

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Dhind1 Premium Plus
I am learning so much with these posts and reading the book. I thought I was a good listener, and a good person. Overall I probably am, but now I know I can be better.

Success is elusive, but it is attainable.

Thanks,

Alex
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FKelso Premium Plus
Hi, Alex! Well, don't feel like the Lone Ranger. I've learned a great deal from reading the book and then going back and selecting what to put in my post.

Don't you find his examples helpful? I hated to leave them out, but enough is enough.

Working on Habit 7...Chapter 9. Then one more after that. Will have it finished before the weekend is over. Yay!
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Dhind1 Premium Plus
Yes, I do find the examples very helpful. I can relate to them.

Alex
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west2000 Premium
Synergy is something we are sadly lacking these days. Thanks for the excellent share, Fran.

Susan
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FKelso Premium Plus
You are ever so welcome. Unfortunately, you are right. The world needs to read Stephen Covey's book.
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JeffreyBrown Premium Plus
In a perfect world, Fran, Synergy works very well. In these trouble times in many instances is it rapidly becoming every man or woman for his or herself. This is good information to keep in the "mind bank" though.

Jeff
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FKelso Premium Plus
So true and so unfortunate. Time will tell. I hope we meet some kind of compromise with the world, as things are going from bad to worse.

It is good information, and I'm glad I read it. I probably got more out of it than anyone else here, since had to read it twice and then write salient points. I am very glad, however, that there are only two chapters left. I want it done before the Juneau trip.
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JeffreyBrown Premium Plus
Thanks, Fran.

You've also done a very excellent job in reviewing the book, as well. When is your Juneau trip again?

Jeff
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FKelso Premium Plus
Tuesday -- keep your fingers crossed that they are flying. It's supposed to snow, and if the visibility is too bad, they will cancel.
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JeffreyBrown Premium Plus
🤞🤞🤞🤞 Fran. I hope you get there and back safe and that all goes well.

Jeff
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hanley Premium Plus
A Bit like me and Partha the prince of long-winded posts, except he usually gets his own way.haha

great post

Petr4 h
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FKelso Premium Plus
Glad you thought it was okay...I have one more habit and a chapter after that -- two chapters -- will finally be done! Remind me not to tackle such a difficult project again.
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Bridges Premium
Synergy is a powerful thing, Fran, whether in human relations or just eating synergistic foods.
Archie
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FKelso Premium Plus
Yep...Mother Nature creates lots of synergistic situations.
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