Synergy… the principle that teaches us that we’re better, more effective, more affective and over all just get more results as a group, than we could expect from the simple sum total of our individual energies and resources. But there are some killers of Synergy in our society, both the workplace and in the family, that we need to avoid… Yesterday we talked about them… We called them the “7 Deadly Sins That Kill Synergy”… They are:

  1. Wrath(Anger)- I’ve tried to work with others before, and they just end up hacking me off!
  2. Greed(Selfishness)- I don’t want anyone else affecting my project, my job, my stuff… it’s mine….
  3. Sloth(Laziness)- I’d rather just do it myself, rather than hassle with input from other people.
  4. Pride(Arrogance)- I don’t want anyone’s help, or need it. I’m good enough without them!
  5. Lust(Unhealthy Craving)- Leave me alone! It’s my way! It’s my idea! It’s my project!
  6. Envy(Jealousy)- What if I look stupid asking for help, or someone else shows me up?
  7. Gluttony(Selfishness)- If I’m going to work this hard, I don’t want anyone to get credit but ME.

We talked a litte about ANGER yesterday, and the need to get past bad experiences with groups that might keep you from future synergistic experiences… So let’s talk about the next “sin”, GREED…

That’s right, GREED. It’s that feeling that says, “I don’t want to work with you or anyone else on this… It’s MINE. I don’t want to share the credit or the rewards.” Not really caring if your endeavor yields an average or even sub-par result; at least it is YOURS. The GREEDY person isn’t nearly so much about PERFORMANCE as they are POSSESSION. They are unwilling to partner with others because of an unhealthy and unrealistic perspective that demands a singular position of influence and ownership… and that singular position is their own.

It’s not that a Greedy person is never a part of a group. Many times they are, whether by their own choosing, or because they are forced into it by someone else. And it’s in those situations where greed can and does suck the life out of a group. The greedy person hoards their own ideas and resources, while confiscating and caching away those contributions of others, with the sole intent of using them for personal success or advancement. Rather than being an asset to the group, and enriching the overall outcome for the good, instead they can be the source of mistrust or suspicion. They are like the little boy at a birthday party who is filling his gift bag with his candy, and the candy of all the other children as well. It’s amazing how stupid greedy people can be… Grabbing onto every idea or resource to keep as their own, without thought for others or the common good… Reminds me of a monkey story…

Men who trap animals in Africa for zoos in America say that one of the hardest animals to catch is the ringtailed monkey. For the Zulus of that continent, however, it’s simple. They’ve been catching this agile little animal with ease for years. The method the Zulus use is based on knowledge of the animal. Their trap is nothing more than a melon growing on a vine. The seeds of this melon are a favorite of the monkey. Knowing this, the Zulus simply cut a hole in the melon, just large enough for the monkey to insert his hand to reach the seeds inside. The monkey will stick his hand in, grab as many seeds as he can, then start to withdraw it, but he can’t get it out. His fist is now larger than the hole. The monkey will pull and tug, screech and fight the melon for hours. But he can’t get free of the trap unless he gives up the seeds, which he refuses to do. Meanwhile, the Zulus sneak up and nab him.

Greedy people, refusing to turn loose of their own resources or ideas and work with others are just as goofy as the little monkeys. Don’t be a monkey. Open up your fist… share your seeds. You might just find out that you like it, and that your reward for sharing instead of hoarding, synergizing instead of going solo, is far greater than anything you could accomplish on your own. So how do you overcome the “deadly sin” of Greed if it’s something you struggle with?

  1. Don’t allow your insecurities about succeeding keep you from opening yourself up to working with others. Write a new definition of success, that includes more about the process and working with others, than it does about personal glory or gain.
  2. Ask someone you work with if you ARE one of these greedy people, and be ready for them to be honest. If the answer is yes, then ask them to hold you accountable when they see it happening.
  3. Start out small… work with one or two other people that you know and trust well, and do it on a small scale or project . The positive experience should be a great springboard for you to step out into a larger group or grander project the next time you have the opportunity to synergize.
  4. Just do it. You’re an adult, for heaven’s sake. Stop making excuses about why you don’t like working with the group, what bad stuff has happened, etc.

There are great experiences in synergy waiting for you as you get past GREED! So take that first step!

Talk to you next time about… LAZINESS…