Developing the 7 digital habits: Habit 5 – Digitally synergise


This is part 5 of a series of posts that were prompted by an article written by the Leading Edge Forum entitled The 7 Digital Habits of Highly Effective People. This time we are looking at Habit 5:

Digitally synergise – Foster your relationships and reputation online through collaborative tools in order to underline the Covey Synergise habit: “In relationships the whole is more than the sum of its parts”. Digitally, these are the habits of: being responsive in groups, liking other people’s content, sharing what you find of value with others (you are what you share) and not hording information (the Google rule of: Share everything, Hide nothing). Together all these great digitally enabled habits create more synergy in the workplace and in the market which will enhance your reputation and build trust with people.

I used to work in an environment where the primary security principle was “need to know” — the idea being that the way to stay secure was to only tell people what they needed to know. This had an interesting impact on the culture of that organisation, turning certain people into information power brokers and causing high levels of frustration when you found out that someone else knew something that would have been helpful to you. Whilst this approach may have been a somewhat effective way of reducing security exposure, it also created islands of knowledge and low levels of synergy.

In a world where information is increasingly open, having access to that information no longer provides a power base, thankfully. Our challenge with information is knowing what to look for and where to find it. That’s where the Digital Synergists come in. They share insights and provide connections in ways that increase the knowledge of the people with whom they interact. They use the collaborative tools available to them to foster relationships and enhance the knowledge of the community. Some people are masters at this and have a huge impact on certain communities. I’m not sure I have the skills to be able to tell you how to be one of them, but there are things that each of us can do.

Impact your community

Communities come in all sorts of shapes and sizes, and they are also represented differently across various collaboration tools. Whether we recognise it or not, we are all members of communities. We can either gain value by being active community members or we can choose to sit on the sidelines. Collaboration and synergy work best when there is two-way activity with input and responses.

We’ve talked already in this series about the need to extend our perspective outside our organisational boundaries and to extend our collaboration to people from suppliers, partners, customers and even competitors. Synergy will increasingly be achieved with those people outside of your organisation.

This post is a bit less practical than the previous ones because the message is quite simple – contribute wherever your community is collaborating. If your community is collaborating on LinkedIn go there and post, like and comment. If your community is collaborating on Slack, go there. If your community is represented by a Twitter hashtag, contribute there. If your community is an internal one using Microsoft Teams, that’s the place to be.

You shouldn’t expect the rest of the community to come to you and you can’t expect to use a single collaboration tool. You need to get comfortable with how each of the collaboration tools work and contribute in a way that assists the community wherever it is, and it might exist in more than one place. I find it helpful to assume that a community already exists rather than start a new one which is generally the case. There are times when the community is so specific that I know an existing community can’t exist, but that’s not normally the case. Some communities have unwritten protocols in the way that they work which can sometimes be difficult to discern, but it’s normally worth sticking with a community and working through understanding the protocol. Most communities are welcoming places if you are adding value.

The best way of becoming a digital synergist is to practice. Although some communities require dedicated time, I find that one great way to contribute is to add the sharing of content to my Find 15 time which we described in Habit 1 – Seeking first to understand.


Graham Chastney is a senior principal technologist in DXC. He has worked in the arena of workplace technology for nearly 30 years, starting as a sysprog supporting IBM DISOSS and DEC All-in-1. Latterly Graham has been working with DXC’s customers to help them understand how they exploit the changing world of workplace technology. Graham lives with his family in the United Kingdom.

Twitter: @grahamchastney


  1. Susan Smoter says:

    I’ve been doing this for years – glad to know it has a name! Good blog. Thanks.


  1. […] So far in this series we’ve talked quite a bit about the changes that you can make in your own working practice to build a set of digital habits. We’ve talked about the tools and techniques available to enable us to understand what is going on around us. We each have a personal brand and we’ve talked about how we can proactively manage that. There are new techniques and tools available all the time and we’ve discussed how to keep a sharp edge and how to avoid all the distractions. We’ve even highlighted the role of the digital synergist. […]

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