Stephen Covey: 7 habits of highly effective people

books stephen covey Jul 21, 2021
7 habits of highly effective people

A habit is defined as a routined behaviour that happens frequently. These practices become so constant in daily life that after a period of time they become subconscious. Breaking a ‘bad habit’ features sustained will power and concentration and building a ‘good habit’ requires dedication and consistency. By considering the impact a habit can have on effectiveness, efficiency and positivity, instilling productive ones can increase not just the attitude of, but also success.

Listed as one of TIME Magazine's 25 Most Influential Americans [1], Dr. Stephen Covey is renowned in the world of leadership with multiple international best selling books. As a leading management consultant Covey is respected and trusted in outlining organisational steps to improve effectiveness, efficiency and productivity in both the workplace and at home. ‘7 Habits of Highly Effective People’ was first published in 1990, and is regarded as the no. 1 most influential business book of the twentieth century and remains to be one of The New York Times best sellers[2]. 

This book explains how implementing specific habits, focused on being an effective person can promote a better, more sustainable and bigger future. Stephen Covey’s 7 habits of highly effective people are:

1. Be Proactive [3]

Responsibility isn’t just for the moments of successful growth. The only way to see positive results is by accepting responsibility for behaviours and learning by correcting mistakes. Blaming circumstances, genetics and other uncontrollable elements stops those moving forward by their unacceptance. 

2. Begin with the end in mind

By defining what success means to an individual, progress can be made by being able to plan how this will be achieved. This focuses time and energy on controllable and foreseeable goals to gain value in these accomplishments. 

3. Put first things first

Balance is defined as a key element to the ideal existence. Turning down opportunities is as important as taking them on. By prioritising the most important tasks to reach the desired goals the outcome is focused and worked on consistently. 

4. Think win-win

The required results can only be optimised with the effective collaboration with others. This positive enforcement of behaviours that work symbiotically help promote self-worth by excluding competitiveness and comparison.

5. Seek first to understand then to be understood

By taking time to empathetically approach different scenarios the effectiveness of communication increases. By arranging the thought of listening to reply, to listen to understand, the skill of communication is enhanced.

6. Synergise

“Synergy is better than my way or your way. It’s our way.”

 Dr. Stephen R. Covey[4]

To comprehensively approach problems with innovative solutions, creative cooperation with others effectively allows open-mindedness that one person could not conceive on their own. Teamwork produces better results with more effective processing.

7. Sharpen the saw

The concept of the final habit is that if time is never taken to resharpen a saw blade when sawing, the effectiveness declines. This metaphor refers to seeking continuous improvement in both professional and personal life. Often the experiences we find inform other work by testing and learning new but transferable skills. It also refers to each area of a person, physical, social, mental and spiritual, needing nurture to remain fulfilling goals successfully. 

The book details what is described as groundbreaking and powerful lessons for personal change. The ‘7 habits’ have seen such popularity that they are copyrighted[5] to avoid misuse and ensure that everyone understands the principles to receive the greatest benefits. His list’s concept relies on individual intention making sure that each habit will make a difference in various aspects of life, and ultimately, making people more effective. 

[1] https://www.leadersforbusiness.com/stephen-covey/ 

[2]https://www.amazon.com/Habits-Highly-Effective-People/dp/188321923X#:~:text=About%20the%20Author,-Recognized%20as%20one&text=He%20has%20sold%20over%2020,Book%20of%20the%20Twentieth%20Century 

[3] https://www.franklincovey.com/the-7-habits/ 

[4] https://www.franklincovey.com/habit-6/ 

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