I recently had the pleasure of attending a seminar based upon Stephen R. Covey’s landmark book, “The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People.” I was intrigued when I heard about the seminar, because I have a copy of the book. Sadly, it sits on my bookshelf only partially read. I found the book a bit challenging; to me, it reads more like an academic text. Fortunately, the presenter distilled the major themes – the 7 Habits – into material I could understand and digest.
Here are the notes I took from that presentation. You can see how powerful his suggestions are and why Covey’s book is a must read. It’s impossible to do justice to the book with just a few lines for each Habit. I encourage you to purchase a copy for the complete discussion.
Habit 1: Be Proactive. Stop and think before reacting. Act based upon sound principles, not emotion (which could be heated at the time). Avoid getting sucked into the emotion of the moment.
Habit 2: Begin With The End In Mind. Have a clear vision of what you want the outcome to be. Create a mission statement, and write it out. (Reminds me of goal setting. Goals are of little value if they’re not written down and kept in a visible place.) Consider: What are your principles? What do you want your life to be about? What do you want your life to look like when you’re 70?
Habit 3: Put First Things First. Develop priorities, then ask yourself: “Where am I spending my time and energy?” Concentrate on your deepest priorities.
Habit 4: Think Win-Win. Seek mutual benefits in every interaction. Don’t just compromise, as that shorts you. Negotiate so that the result offers a win for both or all parties. Seek a cooperative arena, not a competitive one. Win-win situations are mutually beneficial and satisfying.
Habit 5: Seek First To Understand. Understand the point of view of others. Listen more than you speak. This keeps you from jumping to conclusions, especially before the person has finished speaking.
Habit 6: Synergize. Think teamwork and open-mindedness. Together we produce better than had we worked independently. Differences are seen as strengths, not weaknesses.
Habit 7: Sharpen The Saw. Take care of yourself, your whole self. Remember your physical, social, emotional, mental and spiritual needs. Take time to renew yourself.
How many of these habits do you have? Attending that presentation was a real eye-opener for me. Writing this column has helped me ingrain the principles, but I understand that for them to work, they must be applied daily. It’s not too late to make Stephen Covey’s 7 habits of highly effective people part of your 2012 resolutions.
For a related column, see Study and apply strong principles to become a great leader.
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