The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People

by Stephen R. Covey

Key Points:

  • Before we can understand the seven habits, we must understand our own paradigms (the way we see the world) and how to make a “paradigm shift”.
  • Our attitudes and behaviours grow our assumptions.
  • The more we focus on quick fixes and solving problems on the surface, the more that approach contributes to the underlying problem.
  • Focus on principles first.
  • He defines habit as the interaction of knowledge, skill and desire; our character is a composite of our habits.

Habits of Self Mastery (moving from dependence to independence)

1. BE PROACTIVE

  • Take responsibility and make value-based responses to outside stimulus
  • Be self aware and focus on the things we can do something about
  • Keeping commitments to ourselves and to others is the essence of being proactive

2. BEGIN WITH THE END IN MIND

  • Think about the vision you have of your life as a whole and align what you do every day/week/month/year with that vision
  • Our lives are imagination (visualizing the potential within us) and conscience

3. PUT FIRST THINGS FIRST

  • Having independent will allows us to practice effective self management and to focus on preserving/enhancing relationships and accomplishing results
  • Proactively organizing and planning our weeks can allow us to be flexible and meet arising needs and also to focus on long term, important goals

Habits for Public Victories (teamwork, cooperation and communication)

4. THINK WIN WIN

  • If we can’t agree to find a solution that is a win-win for both of us, then we agree not to have a deal (because if one person loses it will create an issue in the future)
  • This involves principles and interpersonal leadership, especially when dealing with people who are interested in win-lose deals
  • Win-win deals come from a character of integrity, maturity and abundance mentality.

5. SEEK FIRST TO UNDERSTAND THEN TO BE UNDERSTOOD

  • Take the time to listen with empathy to understand and to really diagnose the problem
  • Communication is the most important skill and we communicate with our character

6. SYNERGIZE

  • Synergy means that the whole is greater than the sum of its parts (working together to accomplish more than what we could separately)
  • Synergic positions of high trust and communication an lead to great results

Habit of Renewal (continuous improvement)

7. SHARPEN THE SAW

  • This habit makes all the others possible; it preserves and enhances the the greatest asset you have – you
  • It is important to take time regularly to invest in ourselves, the only instrument we have to with with to deal with life and to contribute
  • It means exercising all four dimensions of our nature
    1. Physical: exercise, nutrition, stress management
    2. Social/Emotional: Service, Empathy, Synergy, Intrinsic Security
    3. Spiritual: value clarification, commitment, study, meditation
    4. Mental: reading, visualization, planning, writing