In our efforts to Find a Better Way, Strategic Americans all attend Franklin Covey’s The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People workshop. Over the next few months, you’ll hear about each of the seven habits from a different SA associate.

“Alone we can do little but together we can accomplish a lot.” This quote perfectly embodies Synergizing, the 6th Habit in Franklin Covey’s 7 Habits of Highly Effective People.

The definition of Synergy is “the interaction of two or more people so that their combined effect is greater than the sum of their individual effects.”—Wow, what a concept — working together as a team. It seems to make sense when you say it out loud or read it on paper, but when I stopped and thought about my life, I realized I wasn’t working or living in a very synergistic manner at all.

I think my husband would call me a control freak, but I previously thought that was my role. I like to take charge – I’m a planner, a doer. I think I would plan life if I could. If I saw something that needed to be done, I did it. I was like this not only at home but at work as well. This used to create a lot of stress in my work life. I didn’t delegate work or share the responsibilities…I did it myself. This made for a lot of long, hard days and long work weeks.

When I first started working at Strategic America, there were only three of us in the media department. The other two gals had families and I wasn’t married so I worked a lot. I tried to take on the extra projects so they didn’t have to work late. I was trying to help them but I just ended up carrying more stress and pressure than was needed.

Now, the team has grown to 16 very competent buyers, planners and directors. We share the work load and responsibilities, making things a lot more streamlined. We have weekly meetings to discuss deadlines, projects and assignments, and thanks to Covey’s training I’ve learned that you’re only as good as your whole team. Each member of our team has a different strength and skill set that they bring to the table, making us smarter as a whole. The better and stronger each individual is, the more capable the entire department can perform.

I’ve also tried to be more synergistic at home. With two teenage daughters, life gets a little hectic at times. It seems like everyone is going in different directions all the time. I used to try and take care of everyone and be the “Super Mom.” But after taking the 7 Habits of Highly Effective People class at SA, I realized that I wasn’t doing what was best for our family.

In class they gave us a Talking Stick, which I thought was a brilliant idea. I love having family dinners but with so many different activities, sometimes it’s hard to squeeze them in. When we do get to sit down together, we have tried to utilize the Talking Stick concept. We may not always have the stick present, but we do not let others interrupt the person talking. It has been nice because when you’re talking, you get everyone’s full attention. We have also started sharing more of the responsibilities around the house…I cook, the girls set the table and my husband cleans up. It works out very well for all of us because then we have more time to spend together as a family doing fun stuff.

Covey really taught me to embrace each of our team members’ strengths and not feeling threatened by them, and I feel our media team has grown to a new level of skills and capabilities. Our team and department is stronger than ever, and I think Synergizing has a lot to do with it.