Reflections and applications: 7 Habits of Highly Effective People (Steven Covey)
This classic best seller for management, organisations and personal development encapsulates
Steven Covey's research on 200 years of success literature since his doctoral program. It is perhaps
the most influential book for managers and organizations to learn the Seven Habits of Highly
Effective People, as the title suggest. It begins with the concept that people perceive the world
differently, and we form our own paradigm - how we view the world with our own unique "lens".
Covey explains that paradigms are the source of our attitudes and behaviours. Part of achieving
insight involves making a "paradigm shift" which causes us to perceive things differently. Our
paradigms will affect how we interact with others, which in turn will affect how they interact with
us. Covey argues that any effective self-help program must begin with an "inside-out" approach,
rather than looking at our problems as "being out there" (an inside-out approach). We must start by
examining our own character, paradigms, and motives.
Hence, character and principles are keys to success, effectiveness, and happiness in life. The Seven
Habits of Highly Effective People points out: "Principles are guidelines for human conduct that are
proven to have enduring, permanent value."
The seven habits divided into two main groups: private victory (independence) and public victory
Habits of Independence:
Habit 1: Be Proactive
We must use our resourcefulness to work toward our personal goals. Everyone has both a circle of
influence and a circle of concern. Worrying endlessly about things outside of our circle of influence
isn't particularly productive. Working within our circle of influence is productive. Further, the more
effective we become, the more our circle of influence will expand.
Habit 2: Begin with the End in Mind
What do we want people to say about us at our funerals? How will we be remembered? To succeed,
Covey suggests visualization. Every successful outcome is created twice; first one plan and second on
Habit 3: Put First Things First
The key to putting first things first is to understand that we have many things we can do which will
have a significant, positive impact on our lives. Covey stresses that we must balance Production (P)
with Productive Capability (PC). We must keep the golden eggs, but also maintain goose.
Prioritization is the essence of time management.
The remaining habits in The Seven Habits of Highly Effective People are habits of interdependence.
Rather than being dependent upon other people, or trying to be totally independent, we learn how
to be more effective by effectively working with others.
Habit 4: Think Win/Win
Thinking Win/Win means seeking mutual benefit in our human interactions.
To be successful in the long run, we should learn to consider other's win factors besides our own.
Habit 5: Seek First to Understand, then to be Understood
Most people talk more than they listen. Until we listen actively and seek to understand others, we
would not be understood. Active listening is about sensing the three modes of communications, i.e.
visual, vocal and verbal.
Habit 6: Synergize
It means that the whole is greater than the sum of its parts. Combining the strengths of each
individual yields multiple outcome beyond expectations, simply '1+1>2'.
Habit 7: Sharpen the Saw
Just as a machine will wear out quickly if not properly maintained, the same is true for our own
personal productivity. We must take care of ourselves. The four dimensions are physical, mental,
social/emotional and spiritual renewals.
To me, the first concept on paradigm is profound. I agree that when we change our perspectives, our...
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