FranklinCovey has recently partnered with OpenSesame to offer some of our online learning courses to their catalog. In addition, the company is reading The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People. Below is a guest post from Alexis Phillips, a team member at OpenSesame.
Each week, my OpenSesame colleagues and I read and discuss a chapter of the book The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People by Stephen R. Covey. As the youngest content development intern at OpenSesame, I had a hard time relating to the various habits in the book- until I read Habit 6: Synergize.
A lot of people, myself included, think that they can do everything on their own; that they don’t need anyone else’s opinions, thoughts, ideas, or input. The selfish philosophies of “my way is the only way” and “it’s my way or the highway” are ones of confusion and destruction. When people decide that they alone know what’s best at all times, they not only leave little room for improvement, they also push others out of their life.
In moving through defensive to respectful and then synergistic communication, people experience change in their wisdom and power. Covey explains how defensive behavior- a result of low cooperation and trust, is not effective behavior as it only creates a win/lose or lose/win situation. Although respectful behavior leads to compromise, the cooperation and trust is still not high enough to be very effective. Synergy, as explained by Covey, is the idea that “two heads are better than one”. It embodies high levels of trust and cooperation and results in a win/win situation.
I am an active member of Franklin High School’s Mock Trial and Parliamentary Debate Team. In the beginning, I was quite controlling over how my team and I prepared for our competition. I had a constant “ME” attitude and always reasoned my selfishness with the philosophy, “If I don’t do it, it won’t be done right”. However, as time went on my synergistic behavior increased. During the fall demonstration, the opposing team objected to all of the questions I asked. Since I did not respond effectively, my team lost major points in our presentation and preparedness category. I soon realized that had I asked the judge for a moment and called on my team for help, we would have scored points for teamwork and maybe even won the objection, even in our difficult situation. Luckily, the competition had various rounds against different high school teams and we had the chance to redeem ourselves. The second time around, we put our heads together and ended up winning the round, which allowed us to advance to a higher rank in the competition!
In my life, I now understand why it is important to question the reasons behind my decisions or actions to better navigate the greater, more beneficial outcome. Often I find myself feeling anxious thinking about the many tasks I must complete throughout the day. When I ask my family and friends for advice or for help, I discover new and better ways to finish everything that needs to get done in a timely manner. It’s as if speaking to others and combining our two, three, four, or five heads allows us to discuss all of the possibilities from our different perspectives. This helps me determine the best way to execute the tasks.
In retrospect, my growth as an individual improved as I converted my untrusting and uncooperative behaviors to trusting and cooperative behaviors and actions. I appreciate the fact that I can discuss my future plans with my family and friends. If I couldn’t and I had no one to compare insights with, my head would probably explode with frustration, confusion and distraught. I’ve come to realize that when I work with a team, the finished product is far more abundant than what I could have ever done on my own. The team has the ability to bounce ideas off of each other and brainstorm multiple concepts. In addition, the team has the opportunity to accomplish maximum capabilities.
Alexis Phillips is a content developer at OpenSesame, the world’s leading marketplace for eLearning.
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