The sixth from 7 habits by Stephen Covey Summary
Habit #1: Be Proactive
Habit #2: Begin With the End in Mind
Habit #3: Put First Things First
Habit #4: Think Win-Win
Habit #5: Seek First to Understand…Then to be Understood
Habit #6: Synergise
Habit #7: Sharpen the Saw
Habit #6: Synergise
The sixth habit is the key to the development of genuine interdependence in the family. To synergise is to create new solutions together – it is seen where one plus one equals three and not two. Habits number 4,5 and 6 work together as follows: In order for a family to be interdependent they need to have mutual respect for one another, by thinking "win-win" rather than "win-lose". Then they need to listen to one another in order to truly understand each other, before they seek to be understood. When all parties are at the point where they are open to be taught and find new solutions, they will then be able to create new solutions that were either not possible earlier, or were not considered.
Habits 4 to 6 also build on each other, Together these habits work together to help a family work together to create new ideas and solutions that are better than an individual member could come up with.
Habit 4 is the root – it is the fundamental paradigm of seeking mutual benefit – the nurturing attitude out of which understanding and synergy grow.
Habit 5 is the route – the method or pathway that leads to rich interdependent interaction.
Habit 6 is the fruit – the end result that is not "your way" or "my way", but a "better, higher way".
The key to synergy is to learn to value, and even more than this, to celebrate differences. Family members need to believe that their differences are a strength and not a weakness in their relationship.
Synergy is creative teamwork; creative cooperation. It involves creating something new that was not there before and could not have been created if we did not celebrate the differences. The process in which synergy works involves using the three habits (4,5,6) as well as the four human gifts: self-awareness; conscience; imagination and independent will). It also involves using habit #1 where we create a pause between what we hear and what we say in response.
When a family develops a regular practise of applying these habits they develop a healthy immune system. It helps them to deal with whatever challenges are thrown at them. A problem becomes a vaccination – where the immune system is triggered so that you never get the full-blown disease. We can learn how to take a problem, a setback, or fatigue and turn it into a growth experience that makes the family more capable of solving problems, of synergising. This healthy immune systems will strengthen the family against four deadly cancers that threaten family life: criticising, complaining, comparing and competing.
The stresses in this chapter is how that to function synergistically all the habits must work together. They are not unrelated items that can be practised occasionally or independently of each other. In our family we must be functioning proactively (habit #1); we must be living according to our mutual mission (habit #2); we need to have one-on-one bonding times where we build into each other Emotional Bank Account (habit #3). Then we will be ready to apply the next three habits and develop creative solutions to problems that are mutually acceptable.
The following exercise is suggested to help a family through a specific issue that needs to be resolved:
(1) What is the problem from everyone's point of view? This involves really listening to one another in order to understand. Make sure everyone expresses their point of view to their satisfaction.
(2) What are the key issues involved? Now you can look at the problem together and identify the issues that need to be resolved.
(3) What would constitute a fully acceptable solution? It is now important to determine the result that would be a win for each person. Put all the criteria on the table, refine and prioritise them so everyone feels represented.
(4) What new options would meet those criteria? Synergise around creative approaches and solutions to the issue.
This process will help people to focus on the problem and the desired end result rather than their personalities and positions.
Habits 4, 5 and 6 used together is a powerful problem-solving tool. This strategy should be used with everyday issues as well as potentially divisive and emotionally charged ones.
Follow the next habits next week… Blessed.. Enjoy!! Let's Build our family 🙂