Synergy and Communication
Below are 3 different levels of communication and the level of trust that is associated to each:
Defensive communication is of the lowest level and comes out of low-trust situations. It’s characterised by defensiveness, protectiveness and legalistic language which prepares for the eventuality that things may go wrong, that people may become resentful. Such communication isn’t effective and produces only Win/Lose or Lose/Lose outcomes.
Respectful communication is characterised by honesty, authenticity and respect which produces a low form of Win/Win, a compromise where 1+1 = 1½.
Synergistic communication means that 1+1 may equal 8, 16 or even 1600. The situation produced is better than any originally proposed.
Covey says that even if there are circumstances in which synergy is not achievable and “No Deal” isn’t viable, the spirit of sincere trying will usually result in a more effective compromise.
Unlocking the potential in others
Every human has four endowments - self awareness, conscience, independent will and creative imagination. These give us the ultimate human freedom... The power to choose, to respond, to change.
- Use the four unique human endowments to aid in unlocking the capacity of others to develop into something in the future.
- Appeal to a Win/Win way of being by: putting ourself in the other person's shoes; identify the key issues and concerns; identify outcomes that would be fully mutually beneficial; and think up new options and possibilities to make these happen.
- Seek first to understand—by way of empathic listening—to communicate in such a way that all parties are listening to be understood.
- Live with an open heart and open mind.
How to communicate synergistically
How would we communicate synergistically, then? Is trying sincerely to listen all it takes? Well, not really. We should take into account how synergy is directly proportional to both trust and cooperation. One moves from defensive, respectful to synergistic as both trust and cooperation increase between people. A number of contributing factors nurture the movement from defensive to synergetic communication, including:
- Value the differences between people;
- Respect these differences;
- Build on the identified strengths;
- Compensate for any and all weaknesses;
- Find a third alternative when stuck at an impasse; and
- Avoid negative synergy.