Synergy is everywhere in nature. If you plant two plants together, their roots commingle and improve the quality of the soil so that both plants will grow better than if they were separated. If you put two pieces of wood together, they will hold much more than the total of the weight held by each separately. The whole is greater than the sum of its parts.
Therefore, 1+1= 3 or 4 or 10 or 100 or more!
In this section, we learn that our efforts when combined yield far better results than when separated. We are stronger and better when united in shared vision and power than when we stand apart. We can reach more together than we can alone.
A typical example is how man and woman bring a child into this world. Synergy requires that we value and maximise on our differences. When we all give in our best, though our best be different, when put together, it can yield best results. It builds on strengths and compensates for weakness.
Synergy can be achieved in various interactions in our lives; there are times where neither participants know for sure what’s going to happen. It requires that all participants are opne to new and different views which may be completely different from the individual perspective of each member. Synergy seeks the best alternative and sometimes this alternative is one newly created by acyive involvement from all parties.
An integral part of synergy is clear, honest, truthful and effective communication; one that will seek first to understand and will also seek to be accurately understood. It requires tolerance of differences, it requires appreciation of diversity and an open-mind willing to establish a best alternative that utilises all the strenghts and compensates for the weaknesses.
Synergy is a win-win concept and effective communication requires enough level of trust so members can express even their deepest concerns and interests; it requires openness and transparency to ensure that all parties involved reach genuine win-win results.
With every good there is a bad and even with something so beneficial as synergy, we find some negativity. Negative synergy occurs when people fail to appreciate their differences and the value which their differenes can contribute; it occures when members seek to achieve sameness and thereby imply that one party (normally a leader) is right and the other party(ies) is (are) wrong. This form is self-sabotaging to the group as it only explores the strength of a few participants.
Dr. Covey highlights that the key to interpersonal synergy is intrapersonal synergy. In other words, we can have better synergy in our groups when we first have synergy within ourselves. It begins with you individually!
You need to understand yourself and your uniqueness and then you can value the uniqueness of someone else and acknowledge that they bring value and that together you both stand to achieve more.
Valuing the difference is the essence of synergy and the key to valuing those differences is to realize that all people see the world not as it is but as they are.
And unless we value the differences and give credence to the possibility that we’re both right, that life is not always an either or; that there are always third alternatives, we will always rob ourselves of experiencing the full potential of interactions with others.