Seven Habits of Highly Effective People
In today’s Feature Friday, I am talking about a system that I had discovered over 10 years ago. It has helped me and still applies today. I refer to it as seven effective life habits and it is based on Stephen Covey’s, “7 Habits of Highly Effective People.”
Stephen studied what sets apart effective leaders and managers from the common ineffectual everyday ones. He gained 7 great insights about how to lead and manage your professional, along with your personal life, to be highly effective in both arenas.
He points out these 7 habits to develop:
- Be proactive in life
- Begin with an end in mind
- Put first things first
- Think win-win
- Seek first to understand, then to be understood
- A concept he refers to as ‘synergy’
- And finally, sharpen your saw
The habits are base on a progression that moves one through the following stages:
dependence → independence → interdependence
Interdependence is a developed quality that relates directly to teamwork and good leadership.
To achieve interdependence, requires that one must first become independent from being dependent, which covers the first 3 habits that need to be developed and mastered first.
Then the next 3 habits (4 to 6) focus on developing teamwork, cooperation, and cross communication that moves one from independence to interdependence.
Finally, the 7th habit is based on renewal to create a continual improvement on growth and building upon one’s productive capabilities.
Here are those seven habits
The 1st habit, being proactive, lays the foundation for the remaining 6 habits. For the most part, life doesn’t just happen – it is carefully designed by you and how you act or react to it. Instead of just finding problems, a proactive person takes the initiative to solve them. It is all about taking responsibility for your life.
The 2nd habit, begin with an end in mind, is about defining and setting what it is you want in life (like what do you want to be when you grow-up?). It’s about creating a clear vision for your destination and the goals needed to get you there. Then once you can focus on what it is you want, it will help guide you with your daily activities that helps you achieve those goals.
The 3rd habit, put first things first, is all about prioritizing your daily activities and eliminating those that are not as important or that move you away from those goals or your mission in life. Stephen developed what he called his ‘Time Management Matrix’ (shown below) to help you manage your time and events.
|Important||Crises, deadline driven projects||Prevention, planning, new opportunities|
|Not Important||Interruptions, calls, meetings, reports||Busy work, mail, trivia issues|
Urgent-important are highest priority, followed by not urgent-important, then urgent-not important, to not urgent-not important.
Once you have these first 3 habits ingrained, you are ready to move on to develop the next 3 habits.
Habit number 4, is to think win-win. Life is all about cooperation and mutual benefit. When you seek solutions that are mutually beneficial to you and others involved, helps create an effective foundation for long-term relationships. It is about integrity and maturity. If a win-win is not possible, then the best alternative is not making any deal.
Habit number 5, seek first to understand, then to be understood. This is all about the habit of effective communication with others. Stephen identifies 5 levels of listening (ignoring, pretending, selective listening, attentive listening, and empathetic listening – the highest form of listening). Effective listening allows you to get inside the other persons frame of reference and see the world the way they do. Once you understand, to be understood, you need to express your ideas clearly, being specific, transparent and within the framework of your audience. Communication is the most important skill to have in life.
Habit 6 is about creating synergy, it’s the habit of creative cooperation. It is based on the belief that the whole is greater than the sum of its parts. Its all about valuing differences among individuals while building creative ideas/solutions through interaction and without conflict.
Once you have habits 4 through 6 implanted, its time to move onto the final habit.
Habit 7 is referred to as sharpening your saw. This habit combines all the other habits together while pursuing personal renewal. It’s about your physical, mental, and spiritual well being. It helps you to increase and maintain your balance between your desires and results. It helps you to avoid burnout, wasting time, and making bad decisions.
Obviously, this is just a summation of the 7 habits you can develop to become more effective in all areas of your life. Even if you never achieve all 7 habits in life, just by developing the first 3 will help you create self-independence that will go far. And once you can effectively succeed with the first 5, you will have reached a pinnacle that most people in this life never achieve.
As always, I like to know your thoughts, ideas, experiences, questions, or observations by leaving a comment below. And if you find this article to be helpful, I encourage you to share it with your favorite social network. Thank you! 🙂