“Let’s work together to produce alternative solutions to our differences that we both recognize are better than the ones either you or I produced initially.”

“Let’s work together to produce alternative solutions to our differences that we both recognize are better than the ones either you or I produced initially.”

—Stephen Covey, 20th Century American author, educator, and speaker

The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People is one of my favorite books. I have read and re-read it many times. Over the years, I’ve discovered its wisdom and brilliance goes deeper and becomes even more relevant.

Habit Number Six, SYNERGIZE, points to the combining or coordination of the activities of two or more agents to produce a joint effect greater than the sum of their separate parts.

Where have you seen examples of synergy in your communities during this past year?

Where have you seen examples of the opposite, where groups appear to be divided or even at war with one another?

EXERCISE:

Where, how, can, and will you choose to take a synergistic leadership role to bring people together to fulfill a worthy purpose?

“What are you here to teach me?”

“What are you here to teach me?”

—Milarepa, 10th Century Buddhist Saint and Teacher

Image from Unsplash by NCI

Thousands of years ago man often looked to the stars and to nature for the wisdom and insight to answer pressing problems.

Looking to the gods or some outside source for reasoning and solutions seemed natural since these external forces seemed so large and powerful.

Today, we often look within ourselves and compare our own answers to others. This can create an Us/Them dynamic, which misses the idea that the totality of the relationship we have within our personal and professional communities have bigger and often better answers to guide us.

Marita Fridjhon, co-owner and CEO of CRR Global, calls this concept The Relationship System. Learn about her work at www.CRRGlobal.com.

EXERCISE:

What are the relationship systems in our world trying to teach us?

What may be the lessons we need to learn from COVID-19, racism, and climate change? What do other relationships systems closer to home – such as work and family – have to teach us?

Write the Other Way

“If they give you lined paper, write the other way.”

—William Carlos Williams, 20th-Century Puerto-Rican American Poet

Image of the 9 Dot Exercize

The “Nine Dot Exercise” is a classic. The objective, if you’ve never seen it before, is to connect all the dots with four straight lines without lifting your pen or pencil.  I’ve seen many people grow frustrated or give up in attempting to solve the puzzle.

I will not provide any of the possible solutions. You can Google it if you wish, but I will simply suggest that the solution is in approaching the exercise in a way that is not obvious at first glance.

EXERCISE:

Where would an alternative or even contrary approach be the way to solve one of your more pressing professional or personal problems?

“Fall in love with the problem…”

“Fall in love with the problem, not the solution.”

—Kaaren Hanson, VP of Design /Innovations/ Intuit

QC #853

Through the course of our lives, we have all developed strategies for success which we apply to the daily challenges we face in our professional and personal worlds.

As long as these default solutions work reasonably well, we rarely seek alternative solutions that may actually work far better.

When we embrace, and even fall in love with, the problems we face, we generate a higher ability for innovation and creativity, discovering possible solutions that were previously unrecognized.

EXERCISE:

How might falling in love with your problems help you release some of the “sacred cow solutions” you have used over the years? What new and potentially more successful solutions would be possible?