Stephen R Covey - the community - Join Now For Free

Posts Tagged ‘synergy’

Involve People in Problems and Work Out Solutions Together

Friday, March 27th, 2009

Organizations from all sectors, of all sizes, all over the world are facing very tough challenges. We are in the midst of a crisis. Most managers and professionals, whether in business, government, educational, or non-profit organizations are facing enormous pressure to produce more with less, much less. This requires tough, decisive action and the risks are high.

The tendency of those with management responsibility is to personally assess the situation, come up with a plan of action, and then announce and implement it. If that means downsizing or layoffs, so be it. That particular solution may be necessary in some cases, but in many cases, I find that such “solutions” developed independently, in isolation, and at the top, often create more problems that they solve – for one basic reason. They fail to involve people in the problem, and therefore, fail to get their best thinking and commitment.

In fact, I believe this principle: involve people in the problem and work out the solution together to be a business imperative. This is no soft, touchy-feely, lose-win approach for organizations; it takes much more courage and toughness to go for a true win-win.

The opportunity today is to get authentic and real with people—to have open conversations, to look at the problems and honestly share the issues at hand—and then listen to people and let their ideas flow.  When mutual understanding and respect is present, the spirit of synergy inevitably starts to develop. Synergy is always exciting and tenuous because you are never quite sure what it’s going lead to. All you know is that it’s going to be better than before, better than what either party could come up with themselves.

If you enjoyed this post, make sure you subscribe to my RSS feed!

Most Important Habit?

Friday, December 5th, 2008

I am often asked if there is one habit out of the 7 Habits that is more important than the others. Of course, all the habits are important and they form an inter-connected whole or a continuum. For maximum effectiveness, you have to build from one to the other and apply them consistently. From that perspective, Habit 1: Be Proactive provides the foundation for all the other habits. Habit 1 is, undoubtedly, the foundation for leadership at home or at work because it begins with the mindset “I am responsible for me, and I can choose.”All the other habits are dependent upon being proactive and choosing to master and practicing principle-centered living.

The key to being proactive is remembering that between stimulus and response there is a space. That space represents our choice— how we will choose to respond to any given situation, person, thought or event. Imagine a pause button between stimulus and response—a button you can engage to pause and think about what is the principle-based response to your given situation. Listen to what your conscience tells you. Listen for what is wise and the principle-based thing to do, and then act.

Being proactive (Habit 1) becomes much more powerful when connected and related to the other habits. The key to the habits is the power of their combined synergy and meaningful purpose. Leaving one habit out is like having a four-legged chair—when you remove one leg the chair is out of balance.

If you enjoyed this post, make sure you subscribe to my RSS feed!

The Mission Statement That Changed The World

Monday, March 3rd, 2008

This week we ask Dr. Covey:

Q: Who is one of your personal heroes?

A: Mahatma Gandhi. Let me read you his personal mission statement:

“Let the first act of every morning be to make the following resolve for the day:
* I shall not fear anyone on Earth.
* I shall fear only God.
* I shall not bear ill will toward anyone.
* I shall not submit to injustice from anyone.
* I shall conquer untruth by truth. And in resisting untruth, I shall put up with all suffering.”

- Mahatma Gandhi

I listened to Gandhi’s grandson talk about his life. Her name was Arun Gandhi and this is some of what she said.“Ironically, if it hadn’t been for racism and prejudice, we may not have had a Gandhi. See, it was the challenge, the public need for the public victory that developed the private victory. He may have been just another successful lawyer who had made a lot of money. But, because of prejudice in South Africa, he was subjected to humiliation within a week of his arrival. He was thrown off a train because of the color of his skin. And it humiliated him so much that he sat on the platform of the station all night, wondering what he could do to gain justice. His first response was one of anger.  

He was so angry that he wanted eye for eye justice. He wanted to respond violently to the people that humiliated him. But he stopped himself, and said ‘that’s not right.’ It was not going to bring him justice. It might make him feel good for the moment, but it wasn’t going to get him any justice.

From that point onward, he developed the philosophy of non-violence and practiced it in his life, as well as in his search for justice in South Africa. He ended up staying in that country for 22 years. And then he went and led the movement of India. And that movement ended up with an independent country, something that no one would have ever envisioned.”

And just think on this, he held no formal authority. No position. Most people think that leadership is a position. It isn’t. Leadership is influence. The key to influence is what we’re talking about. You can have influence without position. So don’t be so dependent upon position or formal authority, but use your moral authority, what you know is right. Gandhi changed over three hundred million people using this. Today there are one billion people in India.

I love going to India. It’s a tremendous place. And he achieved many significant goals, but he didn’t achieve all of his goals. But eventually, it became an independent country with its own constitution and they could deal with their own problems, instead of having some steward oversee what they were doing and making judgments and setting up rules and regulations.

He’s one of my favorite heroes.

But you know what he did? He learned synergy within himself. He learned to create a third alternative: non-violent action. He was not going to run away, and he wasn’t going to fight. That’s what animals do. They fight and they flight. That’s what people often do, they fight or they flight, they run away. He worked it within himself until he won the private victory and learned the philosophy of his life. Non-violent action; a third alternative.

If you enjoyed this post, make sure you subscribe to my RSS feed!