Thursday, April 7, 2011


Covey's 6th habit is SYNERGIZE. What an interesting word. What does it mean? I used to sell a product called Percogesic. Percogesic was a combination product. It had Acetominophen (APAP) and Phenyltoloxamine (PTLX) in the formula. Of course APAP is the principal ingredient of Tylenol. PTLX is an antihistamine. Percogesic was indicated in the treatment of pain. The pitch on this product went like this: " The PTLX is contained in the combination for its synergistic effect. You see the PTLX potentiates the APAP. The one makes the other more effective causing it to work much more quickly and smoothly."

So Covey is telling us that in order for us to be effective in life we need to take the various elements of our life and combine them to potentiate one another. That makes sense and requires a little thought and a little strategy.

I like the experience I had in Boy Scouts of America as a leader. A scout is immersed in a myriad of experiences. He earns 21 merit badges and performs various projects and advances through scouting until he becomes an Eagle scout. The end result of scouting is that hopefully we see an individual who can draw on all those experiences to the benefit of the whole. One would hope to see a fairly balanced person with an ability to work through goal setting and earn confidence and effectiveness along the path. The fluer de lis which is the symbol of scouting represents the three different important aspects of the individual: physical, mental and spiritual.

I hold a bachelors degree from a liberal arts college, Huntingdon, in Montgomery, AL. I feel as though I received a good education there. I was not the Valedictorian of my class, that guy is now a U.S. Senator named Jeff Sessions. However, I did pass through the curriculum and attained the baccalaureate. All of those elements of my liberal arts degree, the math, history, philosophy, english lit, etc.combine to make me a more balanced human being. In my 30 year career with DuPont I drew on all of those elements to help me in my various job assignments.

Networking is a great example of synergy. When you combine all the elements of your contacts in your neighborhood, workplace, church, clubs, schools and so forth you will find that you have a fairly formidable network. When you need to you can use all those elements in a synergistic fashion to drive to a goal.

The most overused example of this concept is a football team. It is just too ripe to ignore. Our defending collegiate championship football team is Auburn. Now Auburn did not just fall together in perfect alignment to go undefeated and win the NCAA championship. It took people who knew how to block, tackle, kick, throw, run and so forth. It also took the coaches to put it all together in game plan. All the parts came together in a synergy that produced a champion.

I read a little book to one of my grand children that comes to mind. It is called There was an old lady who swallowed a fly !. At one point the story goes like this: " There was an old lady who swallowed a cow. I don't know how she swallowed a cow ! She swallowed the cow to swallow the goat. She swallowed the goat to swallow the dog. She swallowed the dog to swallow the cat. She swallowed the cat to swallow the bird. She swallowed the bird to swallow the spider, that wiggled and jiggled and tickled inside her. She swallowed the spider to swallow the fly. I don't know why she swallowed the fly."

So that is the way we synergize. We spend our lives in pursuit of swallowing concepts, ideas, experience, etc. The end result is that we are able to accomplish the end result by drawing upon all of the foregoing elements. Our effectiveness in life sort of hinges on the elements which we have incorporated.

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