One of the leadership world’s standard books has been Stephen Covey’s The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People. I decided to give it a read and become familiar with the principles. The book is full of helpful wisdom that can be applied to anyone who so desires to be effective in any arena.
- Our character, basically, is a composite of our habits (54).
- [Habit 1: Be Proactive] Taking initiative does not mean being pushy, obnoxious, or aggressive. It does mean recognizing our responsibility to make things happen (82).
- [Habit 2: Begin with the End in Mind] To begin with the end in mind means to start with a clear understanding of your destination (105).
- [Habit 3: Put First Things First] If you are an effective manager of yourself, your disciplines comes from within; it is a function of your independent will (157).
- You can’t be successful with other people if you haven’t paid the price of success with yourself (195).
- [Habit 4: Think Win/Win] …the moment you step from independence into interdependence in any capacity, you step into a leadership role…Win/Win is a frame of mind and heart that constantly seeks mutual benefit in all human interactions (217).
- [Habit 5: Seek First to Understand, Then to Be Understood] If you want to interact effectively with me, to influence me – your spouse, your child, your neighbor, your boss, your coworker, your friend – you first need to understand me…Your character is constantly radiating, communication. From it, in the long run, I come to instinctively trust or distrust you and your efforts with me (250).
- [Habit 6: Synergize] Simply defined, it means that the whole is greater than the sum of its parts…The essence of synergy is to value differences – to respect them, to build on strengths, to compensate for weaknesses (275).
- [Habit 7: Sharpen the Saw] Habit 7 is personal PC. It’s preserving and enhancing the greatest asset you have – you. It’s renewing the four dimensions of your nature – physical, spiritual, mental, and social/emotional (300).
- Change – real change – comes from the inside out. It doesn’t come from hacking at the leaves of attitude and behavior with quick fix personality ethic techniques. It comes from striking at the root – the fabric of our thought, the fundamental, essential paradigms, which give definition to our character and create the lens through which we see the world (328).
In The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People, author Stephen R. Covey presents a holistic, integrated, principle-centered approach for solving personal and professional problems. With penetrating insights and pointed anecdotes, Covey reveals a step-by-step pathway for living with fairness, integrity, service, and human dignity–principles that give us the security to adapt to change and the wisdom and power to take advantage of the opportunities that change creates.
Here is a principle overview that summarizes it well: