Saturday, 10 August 2013

Covey's 7 Habits

Some of you may have already viewed my newest blog page ‘books’. In the past six months I’ve dedicated much of my spare time to reading business books. Therefore, the page is dedicated to listing the books that I would recommend to improve management and leadership, personal and PA skills. One of the books first on my list is Stephen Covey’s 7 Habits of Effective People.

What drew me to Covey’s book was the fact that it’s all about enhancing personal effectiveness, which in order to be successful is broken down into seven habits
  1. Be Proactive
  2.  Begin with the end in mind
  3. Put first things first
  4. Think win-win
  5. First understand and then be understood
  6. Synergize  
  7.  ‘Sharpen the saw’

Within these seven habits Covey discusses the transition from dependence, independence to interdependence. In order to achieve the first habit you need to break away from dependence by taking responsibility for your own actions without blaming circumstances or conditions. You need to start being proactive by visualising what you want to achieve and the goals you want to accomplish in future. That way you can begin with the end in mind. To know where you want to go in life, according to your values, beliefs and principles.

Next, in order to put first things first Covey suggests ways of taking control of the important things in life that aren’t necessarily the most urgent. He talks about the following:-
  • Planning
  • Building relationships
  •  Personal mission statement
  • Work outs

It’s all about using your time effectively to focus on your important goals in life. Covey describes this as the time that you then reach independence and that’s when you can improve your effectiveness with others.
In order to do so think win-win around others and make them feel like winners. You need to be able to think of solutions to problems that allow all parties involved to benefit (including you). You must believe that there’s plenty for everyone. Remember one person’s success does not mean another person’s failure. Covey states that you need to understand first, then try to be understood. If you start to actively listen to those around you and take the time to do so, then you could actually learn something from them. Diagnose before you prescribe, says Covey.

Finally synergize, be open to fresh and creative ideas. Value the differences between yourself and others and build upon them. Understand and adapt to different working styles to find creative ways out of a conflict situation. Once you achieve the effectiveness with yourself and others, you have then reached interdependence. You are effective and admired. Your relentless thirst for learning and exploring means that you continuously try to improve yourself, as Covey sums up ‘you sharpen the saw’.

The book focuses on the central issue of what drives people to do things and how they can be happy at doing them. The breakdown of habits in sequential order really gives you the tools to be effective in your work and personal life - beginning with yourself and then moving onto others. The 7 Habits of Effective People is detailed book that I would highly recommend for anyone striving for effectiveness and interdependence.

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