In my book The Prosperous Leader I share a tremendous insight that Covey shares in his last book “The Third Alternative”.
He refers to Habit 6 - Synergy, as the third alternative. Meaning, being synergistic is the ultimate in collaboration and cooperation. If compromise makes 1+1 to 1.5 then synergy is 1+1=3 or more.
The way to achieve it is to first to practice all the other habits and then create a willingness to explore other ideas that might be better than each of you has presented.
I use this in many ways. For example, many bosses complain that employees are in the habit of always asking them what to do. It’s annoying and doesn’t allow them the quiet time to work on their own issues.
My suggestion is first to ask them, what they think? Better yet, ask why don’t you work on 3 solutions and come back to discuss which one is the best option. This teaches them to think and take ownership of the problem/solution. It also allows for expanded thinking as 3 solutions is harder than just one solution…
Back to the definition of prosperity, which Covey explains as follows:
Money is only one kind of wealth, a mark of secondary success. Primary success, as I’ve said before, arises from our character, and is measured in terms of the contributions we make. Integrity, honesty, hard work, compassion for others—if we live by these principles, we will never be poor in primary. In a world of such people, no one would be poor, not even the weak and disabled. This kind of wealth is primary wealth. Often (there’s no guarantee) secondary wealth follows as a natural consequence.
The assets that lead to material prosperity have never changed; they are character, education, skills and relationships developed over time, and patience.
There are natural laws at work here, and those that live by them can be both humble and confident at the same time. It’s true that some people get rich without these assets, through birth, luck, or conniving and it’s easy to get bitter over it. But if I see myself as a victim, [then] I will wait for society to become “fair” rather than developing those primary assets that lead to prosperity. (The Third Alternative p. 355) (The prosperous leader.com/blog)