January 1, 2013

Book Review: The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People

The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People by Stephen Covey is a very insightful book and framework for the process of Development. It is not a quick fix but if you apply some of the fundamental philosophies, it will affect who you are, your character and the results will be positive. A lot of it is ‘common knowledge’ however not necessarily ‘common practice’. Here is a brief summary of each of the 7 Habits discussed in his book:

Be Proactive
Recognizing our responsibility to make things happen and instead of reacting, focus on areas we can control – Circle of Concern (little control) verse Circle of Influence (have control). You choose your attitude, you wake up every morning and only you choose it.

Begin With the End in Mind
Envision and see potential – use your imagination. Begin each day with a clear vision of your desired destination or direction and make it happen. Write down your goals, your vision, your mission statement and create your own future.

Put First Things First
Focus on what needs to be accomplished; not how. Be patient, visualize and focus on your highest priorities. Choose your Big Rocks and start with them.

Think Win-Win
Do you have integrity, maturity and an abundance mentality – and do you seek mutual benefit and satisfaction? This is a balancing act that requires confidence, courage and consideration.

Seek First to Understand, Then to be Understood
Communication – how important is it? How many of us listen with the intent to understand; not with the intent to respond. Generally, when listening we are Evaluating, Probing, Advising and Interpreting…how about just Listening and Understanding.

Teamwork! Teamwork! Teamwork! Aren’t two heads typically better than one! This is the development of unity, creativity with others and open-minds. Differences are strengths, not weaknesses.

Sharpen the Saw
Lastly, to feel Continuous Improvement, we must continuously Sharpen the Saw and reflect back to all the other habits and live those habits in every aspect – Physical, Social/Emotional, Mental, and Spiritual. Every day is a new opportunity and it’s all up to you.

This top-seller has helped many solve personal and professional problems. Our character is a composite of our habits. Changing habits is hard, but can be done by tremendous commitment. Remember to always treat others as you want them to treat you. We must understand that the best contributions of people - their hearts and minds - are as volunteers, because they want to.