In today’s world there is a specialist for almost everything from a foot doctor (Podiatrist) to an auto mechanic who only works on transmissions. Having specialties has benefited the western world and it has its place. It has improved people’s quality of life by dividing the workload into manageable parts and has created some interesting advances in particular fields. Nevertheless, there are some downsides to this culture of specialists.
As a result of specialized culture there is a compartmentalization mentality that lacks a wholeness. From wholeness comes the possibilities of synergy. Synergy is the whole being greater than the sum of its parts. Let me explain this some more by giving an example of a story my dad once told me. A bunch of oxen were entered in a contest to see which ox could pull the most weight. The top ox pulled 9,000 pounds the next top ox pulled just shy of the prize amount of 9,000 pounds. Well, later in the day a few of the people got into a debate on how much the top two beasts could pull together. Some where saying 18,000 since 9,000 + 9,000 = 18,000 right? Well, the only way to know was to hook them up and find out. Together they pulled 26,000 pounds! That’s the power of synergy, and is essential to developing the it factor and other intangible qualities.
Its pretty simple to see synergy in a team setting, for example, Ray Kroc started up the franchising of McDonald in the 1950’s. Kroc knew his best ideas would not come from him only nor his corporate leaders but also from the franchise owners. He asked and listened to their ideas and suggestions. From this synergistic team/bottoms-ups approach came McDonald’s best selling items like the Big Mac, the Egg McMuffin, and the Filet-O-Fish. Still, understanding the team approach leaves one wondering, “How do I develop personal synergy?”
Steven Covey, the author of The Seven Habits of Highly Effective People, explained that there are four domains that you can find throughout literature, psychology, character development materials, and life. These domains are physical fitness, education, relationships with others, and spirituality. Orrin Woodward and Chris Brady, the authors of Launching a Leadership Revolution, explain in their seminars and teachings that there are 8 areas that need to be focused on for personal growth in order to create a well-rounded leader and person. They are known as the 8Fs: faith, family, finances, fitness, freedom, friends, following, and fun. Only focusing on one area and neglecting the others comes at a cost and is detrimental for an individual. In order to build the intangibles, the it factor, you need to build yourself in breadth and depth of these areas.
Let us look at Woodward and Brady’s 8Fs (because the more the better right? And it seems just an extension of Covey’s four domains). Each domain correlates and magnifies each other—synergistically. Thus, allowing greater production and output then if it stood alone. If you have all the money in the world (finances) but do not have any time or have poor health (fitness) the money really is not as relevant. Or if you’re a really successful boss at work but at the cost of degrading family relationships, your life as a whole is going to be in disarray and shambles. Take it from J Paul Getty, a billionaire with a handful of divorces who said, “I would gladly give all my millions for just one lasting marital success.”
As you have a well-rounded and balanced life in these domains, you will see the power of AND come out. You become a great leader and a good parent and a superb spouse and wise with money and… you get the point. Therefore the whole is greater than the sum of its parts—that’s how you get the personal intangibles and develop the it factor.
Many athletes and leaders seem to miss the power of AND, merely focusing only on their sports or area of expertise. Although they markedly work in one or two of these domains; they work minimally on a few areas and sometimes neglecting others altogether. This crucial mistake creates head cases and mentally weak “leaders” who crumble at crunch time due to the lack of the breadth and depth in their lives.
I most recently watched a video about a CrossFit athlete who seemed to only do fitness activities. I love working out and, in fact I love CrossFit, but not to the degree of this girl. She seemed to stress about her times, the number of reps, and was disappointed in herself to the point of anxiety and distress. This person’s life was so uni-dimensional that her identity was not separated from fitness. She was being competitive not to win but to cover her self-image, protect her ego, and protect her self-esteem. She was mentally weak because there was no depth and breadth in the other 8F domains mentioned above.
One individual who is a great example of the power of AND and is multidimensional is Tim Tebow. IF you look into his life he has a great Faith, and wonderful family relationships, and using his money to build a 3 million dollar hospital in a 3rd world country, and he fit, and he is a great leader, and…you get the point.
During Tebow’s freshmen year he helped the Florida Gators go to the national championship game. Hardly ever has a freshmen quarterback taken a team to the national championship. That alone is impressive. However, during the media day before the game a news reporter ask Tebow about the pressure of being a freshmen quarterback in a national championship game. Tebow’s response showed his breadth and depth. Remember he was only 18 years old at this time in his life. He explained that it was not pressure, this is was fun! He compared the stress of a football game to his service at his father’s orphanage and missionary work in the Philippines. He told the reporter something like, “Pressure is waking up not knowing where your next meal is going to come from or how you’re going to feed your family. That is pressure.”
Tim did not only specialize in football, but is a well rounded in many of the 8Fs who got drafted in the first round in the NFL as a quarterback, not because of his throwing abilities, but because of his intangible qualities. He was predicted by a lot of experts to not to go in the 1st round due to his poor throwing mechanics. Still, despite the nay Sayers we was pick up more for his leadership qualities. During his second season with the Denver Broncos Tebow got his changes to start. During this time he had more come from behind wins, 4th quarter come-backs, from greater deficit then the Denver Bronco’s legendary John Elway. His plays was magnificent the shocking. He was truly the come back kids! The ability to come through in crunch time comes from his breadth and depth of a multifaceted life–the synergy that comes for the power of AND!