7 Habits of Highly Effective People

Author: Stephen R. Covey

Rather than focus solely on tips and methods to be proactive and self-manage brings home the importance of knowing your end goal in order to achieve it.  This was a key takeaway for me as it’s too easy to start on a path of being more effective without knowing what you are trying to achieve.  As with ‘How to win friend and influence people’ emphasizes the importance of ethics in your dealings with others.  First 3 chapters were the most illuminating

1. Be proactive
• Take the initiative – e.g. New job
• Act or be acted upon e.g.
• Listening to our language e.g. That’s me it’s just the way I am, he makes me so mad
• Circle of concern. Circle of influence – Work out what bothers you and what you can influence
• Direct, indirect and no control – own behaviour, others behaviour and past/situational realities
• Widen circle of influence – e.g. Executive and boss
• Haves and bes – outside in -> inside out (based on principles and character)
• Consequences and mistakes

2. Personal  Leadership – Begin with the end in mind –
•Things are created twice: mental and physical
– what do you want from life?
•Self awareness and rescripting: Sadat and Israel
•Personal mission statement
•Visualisation to help engrain changes

3. Put first things first – Self management
•Power of independent will implemented daily
•”the successful person has the habit of doing the things failures don’t like to do.  They don’t like doing them either…but their disliking is subordinated to the strength of their purpose.”
•Organise and execute around priorities
•Quadrant concept 2×2 matrix urgent and important
e.g. GE Healthcare moving from crisis management to important activities
•Quadrant II planning:
  – Roles: individual, boyfriend, DNA
  – Weekly goals: read chapter a night
  – Schedule to achieve
•Gofer vs. Stewardship delegation
  – desired results: what to be done and when
  – guidelines: parameters (principles, policies) in which to accomplish
  – resources: support available
  – accountability: standards of performance required and time of evaluation
  – consequences

4. Think win-win
•Habit of interpersonal leadership
•Win-win or no deal = viable alternatives
  1. Character = foundation (integrity, maturity, abundance mentality)
  2. Relationships: build win-win e.g. Douglas Johnson, Fosroc
      – Emotional ATM – cornerstone of building win-win relationships
         i. Understanding the individual
         ii. Attending to little things
         iii. Keeping commitments
         iv. Clarifying expectations – what is SBA role
         v. Showing personal integrity
         vi. Apologise sincerely when you make a withdrawal
  3. Agreements: see habit 3
     – System often the problem not people e.g. sales targets
  4. Processes: seeking win-win solutions
     a. See problem from other pov
     b. Identify key issues and concerns involved
     c. Determine results that would constitute a fully acceptable solution
     d. Identify new options to achieve

5. Seek first to understand and then to be understood
•Emphatic listening
  -Mimic content
  -Rephrase content
  -Reflect feeling
  -Reflect content and feeling

6. Synergize
•Benefits of synergy

7. Sharpen the saw
•Small changes and creation of habits to constantly drive large changes in your life