This week we revisited the 7 Habits of Highly Effective People. I first encountered the 7 habits when I served a mission in Budapest, Hungary. There was an elder there who everyone admired, and I couldn’t understand why. Then, during a zone conference, he was tapped to teach the missionaries about effectiveness, and it was there that I first learned of the 7 habits.
After my mission, I bought a copy of the 7 habits, and while I can’t say I’ve followed them religiously, they have been an important factor in how I have seen the world ever since. When I’ve been down in life, I’ve harkened back to their lessons, remembered that I have the power of responsibility and can be proactive, that I can see a better course and take action to pursue it. As I’ve grown and my work has taken on an increasingly social element, I’ve had to practice the principles of Win-Win and empathy.
While the 7 habits aren’t new to me, I appreciated the refresher, and I’m glad to have a nice summary of the book that I can look back on now and again. In particular, I was glad to be reminded of synergy. This is a habit that I haven’t worked on very much, but that is important in the work I do now.
Earlier in my career, I relied heavily on myself and my ability to work alone. I honed my personal skills and my craft. I took pride in what I produced. As I’ve grown farther in my career, though, I’ve realized that there are limits to what I can accomplish alone. By working with and through others, I can accomplish more. Partly, this a matter of scale: more hands means greater scale. But it’s also a matter of diversity; others can provide new and different insights and skills that enhance my own.
This is still a habit I’m developing, and it’s easy to fall back on a habit of relying upon myself, but there is no doubt that if I am to be successful in business, synergy is an essential habit.