Remembering Stephen Covey and His Impact on Us!

Stephen Covey, the author of the mega-bestseller, “7 Habits of Highly Effective People”, died last week from complications from a biking accident in April.

Covey was one of the world’s foremost leadership authorities, organizational experts and thought leaders. The “7 Habits of Highly Effective People” has been named one of the most influential management books by several organizations, including Time and Forbes magazines. Other best-sellers by Covey include “First Things First,” “Principle-Centered Leadership,” and “The 8th Habit: From Effectiveness to Greatness.”

To honor Covey, it’s worth reviewing his 7 Habits (Note: the summary that follows is from the Wikipedia entry for his book). Take time to review the habits and purposefully choose one habit to focus on for you and your business this quarter. I am focusing on Habit 1: Be Proactive. What about you?

The 7 Habits

Independence or Self-Mastery – The First Three Habits surround moving from dependence to independence (i.e., self mastery):

Habit 1: Be Proactive

Take initiative in life by realizing that your decisions (and how they align with life’s principles) are the primary determining factor for effectiveness in your life. Take responsibility for your choices and the consequences that follow.

Habit 2: Begin with the End in Mind

Self-discover and clarify your deeply important character values and life goals. Envision the ideal characteristics for each of your various roles and relationships in life. Create a mission statement.

Habit 3: Put First Things First

Prioritize, plan, and execute your week’s tasks based on importance rather than urgency. Evaluate whether your efforts exemplify your desired character values, propel you toward goals, and enrich the roles and relationships that were elaborated in Habit 2.

Interdependence – The next three have to do with Interdependence (i.e., working with others):

Habit 4: Think Win-Win

Genuinely strive for mutually beneficial solutions or agreements in your relationships. Value and respect people by understanding a “win” for all is ultimately a better long-term resolution than if only one person in the situation had gotten his way.

Habit 5: Seek First to Understand, Then to be Understood

Use empathic listening to be genuinely influenced by a person, which compels them to reciprocate the listening and take an open mind to being influenced by you. This creates an atmosphere of caring, respect, and positive problem solving.

Habit 6: Synergize

Combine the strengths of people through positive teamwork, so as to achieve goals no one person could have done alone. Get the best performance out of a group of people through encouraging meaningful contribution, and modeling inspirational and supportive leadership.

Self-Renewal – The Last habit relates to self-rejuvenation:

Habit 7: Sharpen the Saw

Balance and renew your resources, energy, and health to create a sustainable, long-term, effective lifestyle. It primarily emphasizes on exercise for physical renewal, prayer (mediation, yoga, etc.) and good reading for mental renewal. It also mentions service to the society for spiritual renewal.

8th Habit — and Stephen Covey’s additional habit is “find your voice and inspire others to find theirs”, embodied in his book by the same name.

Spend time at your next leadership team meeting to review the Habits and purposefully choose one habit to focus on for you and your business this quarter. What will it be?

Copyright 2012 David Paul Carter.


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