When Stephen Covey’s book, “The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People,” appeared in 1989, it made an immediate impact on the business world. Covey, 79, passed away on July 16, but his 7 habits will stay with us for a long time, offering profound insights to personal growth and performance. The habits will sound very familiar to you, even if you haven’t read the book, because they have entered the lexicon of management and many people have been citing them in their daily conversations for over twenty years. Let’s revisit them:
Habit No. 1: Be proactive. “Self-awareness enables us to stand apart and examine the way we ‘see’ ourselves — our self-paradigm, the most fundamental paradigm of effectiveness.” It’s interesting to note that self awareness is the first dimension of emotional intelligence, which wasn’t a well known topic then, but it is now.
Habit No. 2 Begin with the end in mind. “This habit is based on the principle that all things are created twice. There’s a mental or first creation, and a physical or second creation to all things.” Visualize what you want as if it already happened and stay focused on your goal.
Habit No. 3: Put first things first. “Management is clearly different from leadership. Management is doing things right. Leadership is doing the right things. Leadership is primarily a high-powered, right brain activity. It’s more of an art; it’s based on a philosophy. You have to ask the ultimate questions of life when you’re dealing with personal leadership issues.”
Habit No. 4: Think win/win. “This is a frame of mind and heart that constantly seeks mutual benefit in all human interactions. Win/win means agreements are mutually beneficial, mutually satisfying… Most people think in terms of dichotomies: strong or weak, hardball or softball, win or lose. But that kind of thinking is fundamentally flawed.”
Habit No. 5: Seek first to understand, then to be understood. “We have such a tendency to rush in, to fix things up with good advice. But we often fail to take time to diagnose, to really, deeply understand the problem first. This principle is the key to effective communication.”
Habit No. 6: Synergize. “You begin with the belief that parties involved will gain more insight, and that the excitement of that mutual learning and insight will create a momentum toward more and more insights, learning, and growth. Synergy is almost as if a group collectively agrees to subordinate old scripts and to write a new one.”
Habit No. 7: Sharpen the saw. “It’s renewing the four dimensions of your nature—physical, spiritual, mental, and social/emotional.” Covey emphasizes continuous self-improvement. Commit, learn, and do. Thank you, Stephen Covey, for providing us with these powerful insights into human performance.
Note: Many of these human performance concepts are covered in workshops delivered by HumaNext on a number of topics including emotional intelligence at work, culture change, employee engagement, innovation, inclusion, and others. Contact us for your onsite training needs: email@example.com