All of the previous 5 Habits have prepared us for Habit 6 – Synergy.
Synergy means the whole is greater than the sum of its parts, 1+1=3! When you communicate synergistically you are opening your mind to new possibilities, new alternatives and new options. It is almost as if a group decides to delete old scripts and write new ones which can produce a new synergistic culture and new chemistry. Producing something new together is more meaningful than simply reading something old. Organisations can write corporate mission statements in the same way. Writing it together involves being prepared to listen rather than present and creating and synergising rather than depending and protecting. People will be excited and enjoy the process. As they have had an input it is much more likely to be engraved in them and they are more likely to refer back to it.
Convey states the following:
‘We seek not to imitate the masters; rather we seek what they sought.’
This highlights that previous synergistic experiences can not be copied but you can always seek to invent new ones.
If two parties can not agree on something, a middle way must be sought – a third alternative. By mutually seeking to understand and be understood, both parties state what they wish to achieve and build on their relationship whilst forming a third alternative. Valuing both parties’ differences is key to gaining a Win/Win situation. You must understand that not everyone has the same paradigm and views the world differently. To be truly effective you must realise your own perceptual limitations and appreciate other peoples. This can help add to your knowledge and understanding and can help to create an environment for synergy.
Synergy is particularly important in dealing with negative forces that work against growth and change. Kurt Lewin produced a Force field Analysis Model which describes ‘any current level of performance or being as a state of equilibrium between the driving forces that encourage upward movement and the restraining forces that discourage it.’ These driving forces are positive but the restraining forces are negative and must be dealt with when change occurs. Restraining forces must be worked upon with the Win/Win concept, mutual understanding and synergy. Informing people of the problems so that can understand it and help to remove it will encourage shared goals and enable the whole organisation to move forward.
Overall it is clear that Synergy requires trust, openness, a Win/Win attitude, and the ability to value the differences of others to be effective. If you only see two options, yours and the wrong one, you must look for a synergistic third alternative. You can avoid negative energy by looking for the good in others. If you really seek to understand, you can find a solution that will be better for everyone concerned.