Tuesday, July 17, 2012

One Last Look at "The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People"

Stephen Covey, author of "The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People," dies yesterday. His advice is worth reflecting on at least one more time.

RIP Stephen Covey: A Busy Person's Guide to the Seven Habits has this to say:

"Management guru Stephen R. Covey died Monday at age 79.

Dr. Covey was the author of the 1989 publishing juggernaut “The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People” and other books which have together sold more than 20 million copies in 38 languages, according to his website. Among his other achievements, he was also the founder of a consulting firm and time-management products company, aimed to help individuals and businesses implement his principles.

Former Hearst Magazines president Cathie Black, quoted in The Journal in 2007, succinctly described what made Covey’s message so appealing:

“You will flourish by concentrating on the aspects of life that you can control rather than by reacting to external forces. The seven “habits” covered in the book may seem so simple as to be obvious (“Be Proactive,” “Put First Things First,” etc.), but Stephen Covey weaves them into a principle-based philosophy that emphasizes the importance of relying on your own character and intrinsic beliefs as you pursue any goal. I’ve found that even if you’re able to take on board only a couple of the book’s seven habits, you will still notice their beneficial effect on life both in and out of the office.”

In the spirit of efficient (and hopefully, highly effective) time management, here’s a crib sheet to the “7 Habits” for those too busy to actually read the book. The first three habits focus on individual independence, the second three goals involve how to work best with others and the final goal concerns self-maintenance and renewal.

Habit 1: Be Proactive. Choose your own course. Highly effective people don’t dwell on the things they can’t do and aren’t reactive to outside forces; instead they focus on what they can do and are responsible for their choices and those consequences.

Habit 2: Begin with the End in Mind. Determine what your end goal is, including your broader life goals, so you know what you are working toward.

Habit 3: Put First Things First. Prioritize tasks based on importance, rather than urgency, and make sure your plan drives you toward the goals you outlined in Habit 2. Once you’ve prioritized tasks, execute accordingly.

Habit 4: Think Win-Win. Aim for solutions that mutually benefit both parties in a relationship.

Habit 5: Seek First to Understand, Then to be Understood. Try to really listen to other people and be open to influence–which should help them do the same for you — in order to help create a more respectful environment and better solve problems.

Habit 6: Synergize. Use teamwork to reach goals unattainable by one person working alone. To get the strongest performance out of team players, encourage meaningful contributions and end goals.

Habit 7: Sharpen the Saw. To be more effective over the long-haul, make sure to keep your body, mind and spirit fit and refreshed, via exercise, prayer or meditation, community service and stimulating reading."

Have a great day.

Thanks. Bob.

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