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Wednesday, December 14, 2005

Seven Habits of Highly Effective People

7 Habits Of Highly Effective People®
Dr. Stephen Covey's inspirational book –

Dr Stephen Covey is a hugely influential management guru, whose book The Seven Habits Of Highly Effective People, became a blueprint for personal development when it was published in 1990. The Seven Habits are said by some to be easy to understand but not as easy to apply. Don't let the challenge daunt you: The 'Seven Habits' are a remarkable set of inspirational and aspirational standards for anyone who seeks to live a full, purposeful and good life, and are applicable today more than ever, as the business world becomes more attuned to humanist concepts. Covey's values are full of integrity and humanity, and contrast strongly with the process-based ideologies that characterized management thinking in earlier times.
Stephen Covey, as well as being a renowned writer, speaker, academic and humanist, has also built a huge training and consultancy products and services business - Franklin Covey which has a global reach, and has at one time or another consulted with and provided training services to most of the world's leading corporations.
The 7 Habits has sold 15 million copies and continues to sell 50,000 to 100,000 a month.
A survey by Chief Executive magazine chose 7 Habits as the most influential book of the 20th century. Time magazine in 1996 named Covey one of the 25 most influential Americans.

Covey doesn't like to be recognized and uses extreme down-dressing and a cap over his shaved head to travel incognito. But he's constantly on his cell phone to family and says his voice gives him away because, at 1.5 million copies, 7 Habits is the best-selling non-fiction audio book in history

Fast on the first Sunday of every month. That's what the Covey family does. Savings on the grocery bill are given to the poor. The family also fasts when anyone in the family is seriously ill or otherwise in need of their prayers. The Coveys are Mormons. The library is packed with books on religion

Covey has made a fortune on books and speaking engagements since he turned 50, but the evidence is difficult to find. He owns a vacation cabin in Montana, and his home is the most elevated overlooking Provo on the bench of the Wasatch mountain range, the venue of the 2002 Winter Olympics. But his property and his remaining 1.1 million FranklinCovey shares are in a charitable trust he controls, and he says it's all been donated largely to the Mormon Church and church-affiliated Brigham Young University.

SEVEN HABITS OF HIGHLY EFFECTIVE PEOPLE® + 1
Habit 1 - BE PROACTIVE®
This is the ability to control one's environment, rather than have it control you, as is so often the case. Self determination, choice, and the power to decide response to stimulus, conditions and circumstances
Habit 2 - BEGIN WITH THE END IN MIND®
Covey calls this the habit of personal leadership - leading oneself that is, towards what you consider your aims. By developing the habit of concentrating on relevant activities you will build a platform to avoid distractions and become more productive and successful.
Habit 3 - PUT FIRST THINGS FIRST®
Covey calls this the habit of personal management. This is about organising and implementing activities in line with the aims established in habit 2. Covey says that habit 2 is the first, or mental creation; habit 3 is the second, or physical creation. (See the section on time management.)
Habit 4 - THINK WIN-WIN®
Covey calls this the habit of interpersonal leadership, necessary because achievements are largely dependent on co-operative efforts with others. He says that win-win is based on the assumption that there is plenty for everyone, and that success follows a co-operative approach more naturally than the confrontation of win-or-lose.
Habit 5 - SEEK FIRST TO UNDERSTAND AND THEN TO BE UNDERSTOOD®
One of the great maxims of the modern age. This is Covey's habit of communication, and it's extremely powerful. Covey helps to explain this in his simple analogy 'diagnose before you prescribe'. Simple and effective, and essential for developing and maintaining positive relationships in all aspects of life. (See the associated sections on Empathy, Transactional Analysis, and the Johari Window.)
Habit 6 - SYNERGIZE®
Covey says this is the habit of creative co-operation - the principle that the whole is greater than the sum of its parts, which implicitly lays down the challenge to see the good and potential in the other person's contribution.
Habit 7 - SHARPEN THE SAW®
This is the habit of self renewal, says Covey, and it necessarily surrounds all the other habits, enabling and encouraging them to happen and grow. Covey interprets the self into four parts: the spiritual, mental, physical and the social/emotional, which all need feeding and developing.
Stephen Covey's Seven Habits are a simple set of rules for life - inter-related and synergistic, and yet each one powerful and worthy of adopting and following in its own right. For many people, reading Covey's work, or listening to him speak, literally changes their lives. This is powerful stuff indeed and highly recommended.
This 7 Habits summary is just a brief overview - the full work is fascinating, comprehensive, and thoroughly uplifting. Read the book, or listen to the full tape series if you can get hold of it.
In his more recent book 'The 8th Habit', Stephen Covey introduced (logically) an the eighth habit, which deals with personal fulfilment and helping others to achieve fulfilment too. The book also focuses on leadership.
Habit 8 – FIND YOUR VOICE and INSPIRE OTHERS to FIND THEIRS.