The next article in the series is by Neil Holloway who is a big believer in Habit No 6 Synergize and the process of creative cooperation:

“Synergy is better than my way or your way. It’s our way.” I have always felt that this is a habit that many do naturally and for those that don’t, it’s quite difficult. True teamwork isn’t easy to achieve. Being completely open minded to developing a solution that recognises and considers the input of many individuals is a difficult process, but it is indeed a process. As a consultant, I’ve sometimes been accused of ‘making it up as I go’ by people who don’t understand the methodologies that underpin my practice. Those who know me well, or have experience in leadership, recognise the systematic process that informs my approach. Throughout my career, the techniques I employ have enabled me to help people relax and open up in order to get optimal input into whatever we are trying to achieve.

I enjoy taking time to understand myself, my behaviours, characteristics, likes and dislikes. In doing this, it also helps me understand others better. I feel to truly apply Synergize, particularly in Leadership roles, this is essential. In my career, I have held various Leadership roles, both as an employee and as a consultant, where my expertise is required and my belief in synergy has supported my success in both areas.

As an employee, I always built strong teams around me, engaged people who knew their input was appreciated and encouraged a spirit of creative cooperation. This has led to some interesting and sometimes heated debates, but (almost) always with the focus on achieving the best outcome. Recognising the value in our differences is at the core of this.

As a consultant, it’s different. I work with new people regularly and find that to achieve success I need to earn trust. Here, I always try to effectively combine facilitation skills with Leadership. It’s about the whole team contributing vs any one individual. I have a desire to be that person who is always actively seeking creative collaborative action. This does not mean that Synergize is about compromise though. As Stephen Covey said himself, “Synergy is not the same as compromise. In a compromise, one plus one equals one and a half at best.” Synergy is getting the absolute best with the resources you have available.

When I have completed a piece of work, an important part of the process is my own self-reflection. My role is often to help a team or a process perform better. This is often done remotely, so time spent on collaboration is important, but when we have achieved our goals I always ask myself the question: Would that have happened without me? My satisfaction isn’t derived from being seen as the person talking loudest about what was achieved but from knowing that I have utilised my skills and belief in the process to Synergize. That is far more important than any personal glory.

Neil Holloway