Habits 6 and 7 - Synergize and Sharpen The Saw
by Barbara Hickey
January 13, 2014 12:00 AM | 1403 views | 0 0 comments | 11 11 recommendations | email to a friend | print
As a doctor would not prescribe before he diagnoses, an active listener gathers all the facts and attempts to understand them before making a judgment. This allows for decision making based on knowledge rather than ignorance.
Habit 6 - Synergize
The author defines synergy as "one plus one equals three or more."
  • Synergy involves a discovery of things, that when shared, may result in an even better idea or a third alternative that allows all parties to win.
  • Synergy is the "byproduct" of an atmosphere that fosters the Win-Win attitude and the "Seeks First to Understand" philosophy, while keeping the faith that a decision can be reached.
  • We must condition ourselves to think of differences as opportunities. If we choose to see them as threats, then they will be a threat.
  • If we can share our differences and celebrate them as benefits that will lead to greater knowledge, we enhance the quality of our lives.
  • Be aware of stereotyping as it can affect whole cultures and limit our discovery of true worth. Overcoming our prejudices and keeping an open mind moves us toward a third alternative in negotiations and problem solving.
Habit 7 - Sharpening the Saw
Covey calls this "The Habit of Self-Renewal," as it is necessary to transform our behavior and renew ourselves so that the other Six Habits become natural and spontaneous.
He refers to Aesop's fable, "The Goose and the Golden Egg" once again to illustrate that we must protect our ability to perform, that is, our Production Capability.
  • Covey says: "The key to self-directed change involves making incremental, positive efforts toward self-mastery or achievements that build confidence and encompass four dimensions of our life: (1) Physical, (2) Mental, (3) Spiritual, and (4) Social-Emotional."
A brief description of each is:

  • Physical - Through nutrition, exercise and rest we strengthen our bodies.
  • Mental - Through learning, reading, and writing we sharpen our mental capabilities.
  • Spiritual - Through inspirational literature, meditation, prayer and communing with nature, we develop our spiritual self.
  • Social-Emotional - Through courtesy, kindness, honesty, and keeping commitments we make deposits into the Emotional Bank Accounts of our key relationships.
Covey gives us these 7 Habits in a certain order to empower us to move in an upward spiral of growth and change - of continuous improvement. 
As we all learn by repetition, he directs us to LEARN, COMMIT, and DO.LEARN, COMMIT, and DO.LEARN, COMMIT, and DO.
Until next month let me leave you with more wisdom from our author, Stephen Covey:
We listen with ears, eyes, and heart to move below the surface meaning to the root feelings and issues that really matter.

Barbara Hickey of Mableton is a community volunteer and owner of The Etiquette School of Atlanta.
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